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Publication numberUS7863434 B2
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 09/792,957
Publication dateJan 4, 2011
Filing dateFeb 26, 2001
Priority dateApr 25, 1997
Fee statusPaid
Also published asCA2258277A1, CA2258277C, DE69841037D1, EP0915980A2, EP0915980B1, EP2060631A2, EP2060631A3, EP2311957A1, US6204252, US8093008, US8435495, US8461323, US20100088774, US20110045605, US20120178102, US20120270232, WO1998049313A2, WO1998049313A3
Publication number09792957, 792957, US 7863434 B2, US 7863434B2, US-B2-7863434, US7863434 B2, US7863434B2
InventorsCheryl Murphy, James Storey, Gerald A. Beltz, Richard T. Coughlin
Original AssigneeAntigenics Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Nucleotide sequences coding granulocytic ehrlichia proteins for use in diagnosis, assessment, prognosis and treatment of mammals afflicted with ehrlichiosis
US 7863434 B2
Abstract
The present invention relates, in general, to granulocytic ehrlichia (GE) proteins. In particular, the present invention relates to nucleic acid molecules coding for GE S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 proteins; purified GE S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 proteins and polypeptides; recombinant nucleic acid molecules; cells containing the recombinant nucleic acid molecules; antibodies having binding affinity specifically to GE S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 proteins and polypeptides; hybridomas containing the antibodies; nucleic acid probes for the detection of nucleic acids encoding GE S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 proteins; a method of detecting nucleic acids encoding GE S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 proteins or polypeptides in a sample; kits containing nucleic acid probes or antibodies; bioassays using the nucleic acid sequence, protein or antibodies of this invention to diagnose, assess, or prognose a mammal afflicted with ehrlichiosis; therapeutic uses, specifically vaccines comprising S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 proteins or polypeptides or nucleic acids; and methods of preventing or inhibiting ehrlichiosis in an animal.
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Claims(29)
What is claimed is:
1. An isolated nucleic acid molecule comprising a polynucleotide sequence at least 90% identical to a sequence selected from the group consisting of:
(a) a nucleotide sequence encoding a granulocytic Ehrlichia S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 polypeptide consisting of the complete amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29, or 30, respectively;
(b) SEQ ID NO:3, 5, 1, 7, 23, 38, 26, or 28; and
(c) a nucleotide sequence complementary to any of the nucleotide sequences in (a) or (b).
2. The isolated nucleic acid molecule of claim 1, wherein the molecule comprises the nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID NO:3, 5, 1, 7, 23, 38, 26, or 28.
3. The isolated nucleic acid molecule of claim 1, wherein the molecule encodes a polypeptide comprising the complete amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29, or 30.
4. The isolated nucleic acid molecule of claim 1, wherein the molecule encodes a polypeptide comprising the complete amino acid sequence encoded by the nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID NO:3, 5, 1, 7, 23, 38, 26, or 28.
5. An isolated nucleic acid molecule consisting of 10 to 1000 consecutive nucleotides which, under stringent conditions, hybridizes preferentially to RNA or DNA of granulocytic Ehrlichia but not to RNA or DNA of humans, wherein said 10 to 1000 consecutive nucleotides are from a sequence selected from the group consisting of:
(a) a nucleotide sequence encoding a granulocytic Ehrlichia S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 polypeptide consisting of the complete amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29, or 30, respectively;
(b) SEQ ID NO:3, 5, 1, 7, 23, 38, 26, or 28; and
(c) a nucleotide sequence complementary to any of the nucleotide sequences in (a) or (b),
and wherein said stringent conditions comprise:
(i) incubating at 68° C. with a labeled probe in a solution containing (1) 50% formamide, (2) high salt, said high salt being either 5× sodium chloride-sodium citrate (SSC) or 5× saline-sodium phosphate-ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (SSPE), (3) 5×Denhardt's solution, (4) 1% sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), and (5) 100 μg/ml denatured salmon sperm DNA; and
(ii) washing at 68° C. in 0.2×SSC/0.1% SDS several times.
6. The isolated nucleic acid molecule of claim 5, wherein the molecule consists of 10 to 35 nucleotides.
7. The isolated nucleic acid molecule of claim 5, wherein the molecule consists of 18 to 35 nucleotides.
8. The isolated nucleic acid molecule of claim 5, wherein said 10 to 1000 consecutive nucleotides are from said sequence selected from the group consisting of:
(a) a nucleotide sequence encoding a granulocytic Ehrlichia S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 polypeptide consisting of the complete amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29, or 30, respectively; and
(c) a nucleotide sequence complementary to any of the nucleotide sequences in (a).
9. The isolated nucleic acid molecule of claim 5, wherein said 10 to 1000 consecutive nucleotides are from said sequence selected from the group consisting of:
(b) SEQ ID NO:3, 5, 1, 7, 23, 38, 26, or 28; and
(c) a nucleotide sequence complementary to any of the nucleotide sequences in (b).
10. A kit comprising at least one container means having disposed therein the isolated nucleic acid molecule of claim 5.
11. An isolated vector comprising, 5′ to 3′, a promoter effective to initiate transcription in a host cell, and a polynucleotide sequence at least 90% identical to a sequence selected from the group consisting of:
(a) a nucleotide sequence encoding a granulocytic Ehrlichia S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 polypeptide consisting of the complete amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29, or 30, respectively;
(b) SEQ ID NO:3, 5, 1, 7, 23, 38, 26, or 28; and
(c) a nucleotide sequence complementary to any of the nucleotide sequences in (a) or (b).
12. An isolated vector comprising a polynucleotide sequence at least 90% identical to a sequence selected from the group consisting of:
(a) a nucleotide sequence encoding a granulocytic Ehrlichia S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 polypeptide consisting of the complete amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29, or 30, respectively;
(b) SEQ ID NO:3, 5, 1, 7, 23, 38, 26, or 28; and
(c) a nucleotide sequence complementary to any of the nucleotide sequences in (a) or (b).
13. A cell transformed with a vector, said vector comprising a polynucleotide sequence at least 90% identical to a sequence selected from the group consisting of:
(a) a nucleotide sequence encoding a granulocytic Ehrlichia S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 polypeptide consisting of the complete amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29, or 30, respectively;
(b) SEQ ID NO:3, 5, 1, 7, 23, 38, 26, or 28; and
(c) a nucleotide sequence complementary to any of the nucleotide sequences in (a) or (b).
14. The cell of claim 13, wherein said vector further comprises, 5′ to 3′, a promoter effective to initiate transcription in the cell.
15. A non-human organism transformed with a vector, said vector comprising a polynucleotide sequence at least 90% identical to a sequence selected from the group consisting of:
(a) a nucleotide sequence encoding a granulocytic Ehrlichia S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 polypeptide consisting of the complete amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29, or 30, respectively;
(b) SEQ ID NO:3, 5, 1, 7, 23, 38, 26, or 28; and
(c) a nucleotide sequence complementary to any of the nucleotide sequences in (a) or (b).
16. The non-human organism of claim 15, wherein said vector further comprises, 5′ to 3′, a promoter effective to initiate transcription in a host cell.
17. An isolated nucleic acid molecule comprising a nucleotide sequence encoding a polypeptide comprising an epitope-bearing fragment of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:6, 2, 8, or 21.
18. An isolated nucleic acid molecule comprising a nucleotide sequence encoding a polypeptide comprising an epitope-bearing fragment of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:27, wherein the epitope-bearing fragment comprises amino acids 261-275 of SEQ ID NO:27.
19. An isolated nucleic acid molecule comprising a nucleotide sequence encoding a polypeptide comprising an epitope-bearing fragment of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:4, wherein the epitope-bearing fragment comprises amino acids 181-190 or 636-650 of SEQ ID NO:4.
20. The isolated nucleic acid molecule according to claim 17, wherein the epitope-bearing fragment comprises amino acids 13-28, 73-82 or 496-506 of SEQ ID NO:6.
21. The isolated nucleic acid molecule according to claim 17, wherein the epitope-bearing fragment comprises amino acids 41-53, 168-184, or 317-335 of SEQ ID NO:2.
22. The isolated nucleic acid molecule according to claim 17, wherein the epitope-bearing fragment comprises amino acids 6-20, 78-88, or 387-404 of SEQ ID NO:8.
23. The isolated nucleic acid molecule according to claim 17, wherein the epitope-bearing fragment comprises amino acids 110-118, 338-346, or 353-363 of SEQ ID NO:21.
24. An isolated nucleic acid molecule comprising a nucleotide sequence encoding a polypeptide comprising an epitope-bearing fragment of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:22, wherein the epitope-bearing fragment comprises amino acids 104-112 or 170-178 of SEQ ID NO:22.
25. An isolated nucleic acid molecule comprising a nucleotide sequence encoding a polypeptide comprising an epitope-bearing fragment of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:29, wherein the epitope-bearing fragment comprises amino acids 125-136 of SEQ ID NO:29.
26. An isolated nucleic acid molecule comprising a nucleotide sequence encoding a polypeptide comprising an epitope-bearing fragment of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:30, wherein the epitope-bearing fragment comprises amino acids 177-190 of SEQ ID NO:30.
27. An isolated nucleic acid molecule comprising a polynucleotide sequence at least 90% identical to a sequence selected from the group consisting of:
(a) SEQ ID NO:3, 5, 1, 7, 23, 38, 26, or 28; and
(b) a nucleotide sequence complementary to any of the nucleotide sequences in (a).
28. An isolated nucleic acid molecule comprising a nucleotide sequence encoding a polypeptide comprising an epitope-bearing fragment of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:39.
29. The isolated nucleic acid molecule according to claim 28, wherein the epitope-bearing fragment comprises amino acids 90-101, 144-160, or 334-342 of SEQ ID NO:39.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This is a divisional application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/066,046 filed Apr. 24, 1998, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,204,252 issued Mar. 20, 2001, in the German language which claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/044,933, filed on Apr. 25, 1997.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates, in general, to granulocytic Ehrlichia (GE) proteins. In particular, the present invention relates to nucleic acid molecules coding for GE S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 proteins; purified GE S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 proteins and polypeptides; recombinant nucleic acid molecules; cells containing the recombinant nucleic acid molecules; antibodies having binding affinity specifically to GE S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 proteins and polypeptides; hybridomas containing the antibodies; nucleic acid probes for the detection of nucleic acids encoding GE S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 proteins; a method of detecting nucleic acids encoding GE S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 proteins or polypeptides in a sample; kits containing nucleic acid probes or antibodies; bioassays using the nucleic acid sequence, protein or antibodies of this invention to diagnose, assess, or prognose a mammal afflicted with ehrlichiosis; therapeutic uses, specifically vaccines comprising GE S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 proteins or polypeptides; and methods of preventing ehrlichiosis in an animal.

2. Related Art

Granulocytic ehrlichiosis is an acute, potentially fatal tick-borne infection. The causative agent, granulocytic Ehrlichia (GE), has been identified by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using universal primers for eubacterial 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) to amplify the DNA of infected patients' blood (Chen et al., J. Clin. Micro. 32:589-595 (1994)). Comparison of the 16S rRNA gene sequence of GE to other known 16S rDNA sequences revealed a nearly identical match to the 16S genes of Ehrlichia phagocytophila and Ehrlichia equi (Chen et al., 1994). Two other groups of Ehrlichia species have also been categorized according to their 16S rRNA gene sequences, the Ehrlichia canis and Ehrlichia sennetsu groups. The E. canis and E. sennetsu species predominantly infect mononuclear phagocytes (Dumler et al, N. Eng. J. Med. 325:1109-1110 (1991)), whereas members of the E. phagocytophila group including GE are tropic for granulocytes (Ristic et al., in Bergey's Manual of Systemic Bacteriology, Kreig et al., eds., (1984), pp. 704-709). The near identity of the 16S rRNA gene sequences and the sharing of significant antigenicity by IFA and immunoblot (Dumler et al., J. Clin. Micro. 33:1098-1103 (1995)) indicate that E. phagocytophila, E. equi, and GE are closely related.

Full classification of the E. phagocytophila species including antigenic relationships among the individual isolates has been impeded by the inability to cultivate these organisms in cell culture. It has been shown that GE can be successfully cultivated in HL60 cells, a human promyelocytic leukemia cell line (Coughlin et al., PCT Application No. PCT/US96/10117; Goodman et al., N. Eng. J. Med. 334:209-215 (1996)). Walker et al., PCT Application No. PCT/US97/09147 teaches an isolated gene encoding a 120 kDa immunodominant antigen of E. chaffeensis that stimulates production of specific antibodies in infected humans.

The present invention describes GE specific genes encoding ten proteins (S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2) which can be used as diagnostic reagents and vaccines.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention provides isolated nucleic acid molecules coding for polypeptides comprising amino acid sequences corresponding to GE S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 proteins.

The invention further provides purified polypeptides comprising amino acid sequences corresponding to GE S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 proteins.

The invention also provides nucleic acid probes for the specific detection of the presence of GE S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 proteins or polypeptides in a sample.

The invention further provides a method of detecting nucleic acid encoding GE S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 protein in a sample.

The invention also provides a kit for detecting the presence of nucleic acid encoding GE S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 protein in a sample.

The invention further provides a recombinant nucleic acid molecule comprising, 5′ to 3′, a promoter effective to initiate transcription in a host cell and the above-described isolated nucleic acid molecule.

The invention also provides a recombinant nucleic acid molecule comprising a vector and the above-described isolated nucleic acid molecule.

The invention further provides a recombinant nucleic acid molecule comprising a sequence complimentary to an RNA sequence encoding an amino acid sequence corresponding to the above-described polypeptide.

The invention also provides a cell that contains the above-described recombinant nucleic acid molecule.

The invention further provides a non-human organism that contains the above-described recombinant nucleic acid molecule.

The invention also provides an antibody having binding affinity specifically to a GE S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 protein or polypeptide.

The invention further provides a method of detecting GE S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 protein or polypeptide in a sample.

The invention also provides a method of measuring the amount of GE S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 protein or polypeptide in a sample.

The invention further provides a method of detecting antibodies having binding affinity specifically to a GE S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 protein or polypeptide.

The invention further provides a diagnostic kit comprising a first container means containing the above-described antibody, and a second container means containing a conjugate comprising a binding partner of the monoclonal antibody and a label.

The invention also provides a hybridoma which produces the above-described monoclonal antibody.

The invention further provides diagnostic methods for ehrlichiosis. More specifically, the invention further provides a method for identifying granulocytic Ehrlichia in an animal comprising analyzing tissue or body fluid from the animal for a S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 nucleic acid, protein, polysaccharide, or antibody.

The invention also provides methods for therapeutic uses involving all or part of the GE S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E46#1, or E46#2 nucleic acid or protein. More specifically, the invention further provides a vaccine comprising a GE S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E46#1, or E46#2 protein or nucleic acid together with a pharmaceutically acceptable diluent, carrier, or excipient, wherein the protein, or nucleic acid is present in an amount effective to elicit a beneficial immune response in an animal to the protein.

The invention also provides a method of preventing or inhibiting ehrlichiosis in an animal comprising administering to the animal the above-described vaccine.

Further objects and advantages of the present invention will be clear from the description that follows.

DEFINITIONS

In the description that follows, a number of terms used in recombinant DNA (rDNA) technology are extensively utilized. In order to provide a clear and consistent understanding of the specification and claims, including the scope to be given such terms, the following definitions are provided.

Isolated Nucleic Acid Molecule. An “isolated nucleic acid molecule”, as is generally understood and used herein, refers to a polymer of nucleotides, and includes but should not be limited to DNA and RNA.

Recombinant DNA. Any DNA molecule formed by joining DNA segments from different sources and produced using recombinant DNA technology (i.e., molecular genetic engineering).

DNA Segment. A DNA segment, as is generally understood and used herein, refers to a molecule comprising a linear stretch of nucleotides wherein the nucleotides are present in a sequence that can encode, through the genetic code, a molecule comprising a linear sequence of amino acid residues that is referred to as a protein, a protein fragment or a polypeptide.

Gene. A DNA sequence related to a single polypeptide chain or protein, and as used herein includes the 5′ and 3′ untranslated ends. The polypeptide can be encoded by a full-length sequence or any portion of the coding sequence, so long as the functional activity of the protein is retained.

Complementary DNA (cDNA). Recombinant nucleic acid molecules synthesized by reverse transcription of messenger RNA (“mRNA”).

Structural Gene. A DNA sequence that is transcribed into mRNA that is then translated into a sequence of amino acids characteristic of a specific polypeptide.

Open Reading Frame (“orf”). The property of some nucleic acid sequences to encode for more than one peptide within the same sequence, which is possible because these sequences contain a series of triplets coding for amino acids without any termination codons interrupting the relevant reading frames.

Restriction Endonuclease. A restriction endonuclease (also restriction enzyme) is an enzyme that has the capacity to recognize a specific base sequence (usually 4, 5, or 6 base pairs in length) in a DNA molecule, and to cleave the DNA molecule at every place where this sequence appears. For example, EcoRI recognizes the base sequence GAATTC/CTTAAG.

Restriction Fragment. The DNA molecules produced by digestion with a restriction endonuclease are referred to as restriction fragments. Any given genome can be digested by a particular restriction endonuclease into a discrete set of restriction fragments.

Agarose Gel Electrophoresis. To determine the length of restriction fragments, an analytical method for fractionating double-stranded DNA molecules on the basis of size is required. The most commonly used technique (though not the only one) for achieving such a fractionation is agarose gel electrophoresis. The principle of this method is that DNA molecules migrate through the gel as though it were a sieve that retards the movement of the largest molecules to the greatest extent and the movement of the smallest molecules to the least extent. Note that the smaller the DNA fragment, the greater the mobility under electrophoresis in the agarose gel.

The DNA fragments fractionated by agarose gel electrophoresis can be visualized directly by a staining procedure if the number of fragments included in the pattern is small. The DNA fragments of genomes can be visualized successfully. However, most genomes, including the human genome, contain far too many DNA sequences to produce a simple pattern of restriction fragments. For example, the human genome is digested into approximately 1,000,000 different DNA fragments by EcoRI. In order to visualize a small subset of these fragments, a methodology referred to as the Southern hybridization procedure can be applied.

Southern Transfer Procedure. The purpose of the Southern transfer procedure (also referred to as blotting) is to physically transfer DNA fractionated by agarose gel electrophoresis onto a nitrocellulose filter paper or another appropriate surface or method, while retaining the relative positions of DNA fragments resulting from the fractionation procedure. The methodology used to accomplish the transfer from agarose gel to nitrocellulose involves drawing the DNA from the gel into the nitrocellulose paper by capillary action or electrophonetic transfer.

Nucleic Acid Hybridization. Nucleic acid hybridization depends on the principle that two single-stranded nucleic acid molecules that have complementary base sequences will reform the thermodynamically favored double-stranded structure if they are mixed under the proper conditions. The double-stranded structure will be formed between two complementary single-stranded nucleic acids even if one is immobilized on a nitrocellulose filter as by the Southern hybridization transfer procedures. In the Southern hybridization procedure, the latter situation occurs. As noted previously, the DNA of the individual to be tested is digested with a restriction endonuclease, fractionated by agarose gel electrophoresis, converted to the single-stranded form, and transferred to nitrocellulose paper, making it available for reannealing to the hybridization probe. Examples of hybridization conditions can be found in Ausubel, F. M. et al., Current Protocols in Molecular Biology, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, N.Y. (1989). For examples, a nitrocellulose filter is incubated overnight at 68° C. with labeled probe in a solution containing 50% formamide, high salt (either 5×SSC [20×: 3M NaCl/0.3M trisodium citrate] or 5×SSPE [20×: 3.6M NaCl/0.2M NaH2PO4/0.02M EDTA, pH 7.7]), 5×Denhardt's solution, 1% SDS, and 100 μg/ml denatured salmon sperm DNA. This is followed by several washes in 0.2×SSC/0.1% SDS at a temperature selected based on the desired stringency: room temperature (low stringency), 42° C. (moderate stringency) or 68° C. (high stringency). The temperature selected is determined based on the melting temperature (Tm) of the DNA hybrid.

Hybridization Probe. To visualize a particular DNA sequence in the Southern hybridization procedure, a labeled DNA molecule or hybridization probe is reacted to the fractionated DNA bound to the nitrocellulose filter. The areas on the filter that carry DNA sequences complementary to the labeled DNA probe become labeled themselves as a consequence of the reannealing reaction. The areas of the filter that exhibit such labeling are visualized. The hybridization probe is generally produced by molecular cloning of a specific DNA sequence.

Oligonucleotide or Oligomer. A molecule comprised of two or more deoxyribonucleotides or ribonucleotides, preferably more than three. Its exact size will depend on many factors, which in turn depend on the ultimate function or use of the oligonucleotide. An oligonucleotide can be derived synthetically or by cloning.

Sequence Amplification. A method for generating large amounts of a target sequence. In general, one or more amplification primers are annealed to a nucleic acid sequence. Using appropriate enzymes, sequences found adjacent to, or in between the primers are amplified.

Amplification Primer. An oligonucleotide which is capable of annealing adjacent to a target sequence and serving as an initiation point for DNA synthesis when placed under conditions in which synthesis of a primer extension product which is complementary to a nucleic acid strand is initiated.

Vector. A plasmid or phage DNA or other DNA sequence into which DNA can be inserted to be cloned. The vector can replicate autonomously in a host cell, and can be further characterized by one or a small number of endonuclease recognition sites at which such DNA sequences can be cut in a determinable fashion and into which DNA can be inserted. The vector can further contain a marker suitable for use in the identification of cells transformed with the vector. Markers, for example, are tetracycline resistance or ampicillin resistance. The words “cloning vehicle” are sometimes used for “vector.”

Expression. Expression is the process by which a structural gene produces a polypeptide. It involves transcription of the gene into mRNA, and the translation of such mRNA into polypeptide(s).

Expression Vector. A vector or vehicle similar to a cloning vector but which is capable of expressing a gene which has been cloned into it, after transformation into a host. The cloned gene is usually placed under the control of (i.e., operably linked to) certain control sequences such as promoter sequences.

Expression control sequences will vary depending on whether the vector is designed to express the operably linked gene in a prokaryotic or eukaryotic host and can additionally contain transcriptional elements such as enhancer elements, termination sequences, tissue-specificity elements, and/or translational initiation and termination sites.

Functional Derivative. A “functional derivative” of a sequence, either protein or nucleic acid, is a molecule that possesses a biological activity (either functional or structural) that is substantially similar to a biological activity of the protein or nucleic acid sequence. A functional derivative of a protein can contain post-translational modifications such as covalently linked carbohydrate, depending on the necessity of such modifications for the performance of a specific function. The term “functional derivative” is intended to include the “fragments,” “segments,” “variants,” “analogs,” or “chemical derivatives” of a molecule.

As used herein, a molecule is said to be a “chemical derivative” of another molecule when it contains additional chemical moieties not normally a part of the molecule. Such moieties can improve the molecule's solubility, absorption, biological half life, and the like. The moieties can alternatively decrease the toxicity of the molecule, eliminate or attenuate any undesirable side effect of the molecule, and the like. Moieties capable of mediating such effects are disclosed in Remington's Pharmaceutical Sciences (1980). Procedures for coupling such moieties to a molecule are well known in the art.

Variant. A “variant” of a protein or nucleic acid is meant to refer to a molecule substantially similar in structure and biological activity to either the protein or nucleic acid. Thus, provided that two molecules possess a common activity and can substitute for each other, they are considered variants as that term is used herein even if the composition or secondary, tertiary, or quaternary structure of one of the molecules is not identical to that found in the other, or if the amino acid or nucleotide sequence is not identical.

Allele. An “allele” is an alternative form of a gene occupying a given locus on the chromosome.

Mutation. A “mutation” is any detectable change in the genetic material which can be transmitted to daughter cells and possibly even to succeeding generations giving rise to mutant cells or mutant individuals. If the descendants of a mutant cell give rise only to somatic cells in multicellular organisms, a mutant spot or area of cells arises. Mutations in the germ line of sexually reproducing organisms can be transmitted by the gametes to the next generation resulting in an individual with the new mutant condition in both its somatic and germ cells. A mutation can be any (or a combination of) detectable, unnatural change affecting the chemical or physical constitution, mutability, replication, phenotypic function, or recombination of one or more deoxyribonucleotides; nucleotides can be added, deleted, substituted for, inverted, or transposed to new positions with and without inversion. Mutations can occur spontaneously and can be induced experimentally by application of mutagens. A mutant variation of a nucleic acid molecule results from a mutation. A mutant polypeptide can result from a mutant nucleic acid molecule.

Species. A “species” is a group of actually or potentially interbreeding natural populations. A species variation within a nucleic acid molecule or protein is a change in the nucleic acid or amino acid sequence that occurs among species and can be determined by DNA sequencing of the molecule in question.

Purified. A “purified” protein or nucleic acid is a protein or nucleic acid that has been separated from a cellular component. “Purified” proteins or nucleic acids have been purified to a level of purity not found in nature.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1. Restriction enzyme map of group I clones. The top line represents a composite map of all the group I clones and contains the recognition sites for selected enzymes. Each group I clone is listed individually below this map and the relative length of the DNA insert is indicated by the line next to the clone name. A more detailed map of S22 is shown with the open reading frame indicated by the black box.

FIG. 2. Restriction enzyme map of group II clones. Individual group II clones are depicted as described in the legend for FIG. 1. S2 is the representative clone for this group and the open reading frame is indicated by the black box.

FIG. 3. Restriction enzyme map of group III clones. Individual group III clones are depicted as described in the legend for FIG. 1. S7 is the representative clone for this group and the open reading frame is indicated by the black box.

FIG. 4. DNA sequence of S22 (SEQ ID NO:1). The complete DNA sequence of the S22 insert in Lambda Zap II is shown. The nucleotide number is indicated in the left margin.

FIG. 5. FIG. 5A shows the amino acid sequence of S22 (SEQ ID NO:2). This sequence constitutes the translated amino acid sequence for the open reading frame of S22 beginning at nucleotide 500 and ending with the stop codon at nucleotide 2539 of SEQ ID NO:1 (See, FIG. 4). FIG. 5B shows the nucleic acid sequence of the 130 kDa protein gene, corresponding to nucleotides 451-2379 of SEQ ID NO:1. Nucleotide numbers are indicated at the left. The ATG start codon and TAA stop codon are shown in bold type. The translated amino acid sequence for the open reading frame is displayed underneath the DNA sequence using the single-letter amino acid code (SEQ ID NO:2).

FIG. 6. DNA sequence of S2 (SEQ ID NO:3). The complete DNA sequence of the S2 insert in Lambda Zap II is shown in FIG. 6A and continued in 6B. The nucleotide number is indicated in the left margin.

FIG. 7. FIG. 7A shows the amino acid sequence of S2 (SEQ ID NO NO:4) for the open reading frame beginning at nucleotide 1576 and ending with the stop codon at nucleotide 3801 (See, FIG. 6). FIG. 7B shows the nucleic acid sequence of the 160 kDa protein gene (nucleotides 1501-3850 of SEQ ID NO:3). Nucleotide numbers are indicated at the left. The ATG start codon and TAA stop codon are shown in bold type. The translated amino acid sequence for the open reading frame is displayed underneath the DNA sequence using the single-letter amino acid code (SEQ ID NO:4).

FIG. 8. DNA sequence of S7 (SEQ ID NO:5). The complete DNA sequence of the S7 insert in Lambda Zap II is shown in FIG. 8A and continued in FIG. 8B. The nucleotide number is indicated in the left margin.

FIG. 9. FIG. 9A shows the amino acid sequence of S7 (SEQ ID NO:6) for the open reading frame beginning at nucleotide 233 and ending with the stop codon at nucleotide 1969 (See, FIG. 8). FIG. 9B shows the nucleic acid sequence of the 100 kDa protein gene (nucleotide 172-2001 of SEQ ID NO:5). Nucleotide numbers are indicated at the left. The ATG start codon and TAA stop codon are shown in bold type. The translated amino acid sequence for the open reading frame is displayed underneath the DNA sequence using the single-letter amino acid code (SEQ ID NO:6).

FIG. 10. DNA sequence of S23 (SEQ ID NO:7). The complete DNA sequence of the S23 insert in Lambda Zap II is shown in FIG. 10A and continued in 10B. The nucleotide number is indicated in the left margin.

FIG. 11. Amino acid sequence of S23 for the open reading frame which begins at nucleotide 254 and ends at nucleotide 1708 of SEQ ID NO:7 (See, FIG. 10) is shown (SEQ ID NO:8). Two smaller open reading frames are found at nucleotides 2656-2997 (complementary strand) and nucleotides 3904-4248 (See, FIG. 10).

FIG. 12. Schematic diagram of S22 and S23 proteins. The boxes represent amino acid repeat regions. Lighter boxes: 28 amino acid repeats; Darker boxes: 59 amino acid repeats. Note: the 28 amino acid repeats are also contained within the 59 amino acid repeat regions. The approximate size and location of the S22 deletion which results in S23 is indicated.

FIG. 13. Schematic diagrams of S2 (top) and S7 (bottom) proteins. Repeat regions are indicated by the boxes.

FIG. 14. Schematic diagram of GE 160 kDa protein. Repeat regions are indicated by the boxes. Sequences of proposed ankyrin repeats, numbered 1-8 (SEQ ID NOS:9-16), are aligned using the consensus sequence (SEQ ID NO:17) at the top: h, hydrophobic; t, turn-like or polar; S/T, serine or threonine; capitals conserved amino acids.

FIG. 15: Amino acid sequence alignments of selected regions of GE 130 kDa and E. chaffeensis 120 kDa proteins (A) (SEQ ID NOS:73-77) and GE 100 kDa (SEQ ID NOS:78-81) and E. chaffeensis 120 kDa proteins (SEQ ID NOS:82-83) (B). Each protein is shown as a linear amino acid sequence and amino acids are numbered in hundreds. Boxed regions on the linear sequence represent repeated amino acids. FIG. 15A shows the amino acid alignments of a sequence which occurs 4 times in the E. chaffeensis protein (45) (top line of alignment, A-I) and 8 times in the GE 130 kDa protein (a-1 to a-4). Sequence a-1 is repeated 3 times, related sequences a-2 and a-3 are each repeated twice, and related sequence a-4 is found once. The position of these sequences in the proteins is indicated by the small bold lines. FIG. 15B shows the amino acid alignments of two different sequence motifs which occur in the E. chaffeensis 120 kDa protein (B-1 to B-3 and C-1) and the GE 100 kDa protein (b-1 and c-1). Bold and cross-hatched boxes indicate the position of these sequences in the proteins. Identical amino acids are surrounded by boxes and conserved amino acids are in capital letters.

FIG. 16: Western blot analysis of: A) Purified USG3 disrupted in SDS (lane GE). B) Individual recombinant clones of GE 100 kDa (S7), GE 160 kDa (S2), GE 130 kDa (S22), and a negative control (NEG, no insert), were grown and incubated with IPTG to induce protein expression according to Materials and Methods. Samples of each were electrophoresed on SDS-PAGE gels and transferred to nitrocellulose for Western blotting. Blots were probed with convalescent dog sera. Molecular weight markers (in kilodaltons) are shown to the left of each figure.

FIG. 17. Western blot analysis of S2, S7, S22, and S23 proteins. Individual recombinant clones of S2, S7, S22, S23, and a negative control were grown and induced by IPTG to induce protein expression. Samples of each were electrophoresed on a SDS-PAGE gel and transferred to nitrocellulose for Western blotting: SDS-disrupted GE was used as a positive control. The blot probed with convalescent dog sera and samples are indicated at the top of the gel. Molecular weight markers (in kilodaltons) are shown to the left of each figure.

FIG. 18: Western blot analysis of GE proteins. Three different human serum samples were used to probe Western blots containing SDS-disrupted USG3 (GE lanes), GE160, GE100, and GE130. A pBluescript library clone containing no insert was used as a negative control (NEG). Origin of sera is indicated at the bottom of each panel (WI, Wisconsin; NY, New York). Molecular weight markers (in kilodaltons) are shown to the left of each panel.

FIG. 19. PCR analysis of groups I, II and III. PCR reactions were performed and the products analyzed using 4% Nusieve gels. Primer sequences are listed in Table 5. A) S22 primers were used to amplify a 159 bp region of S22 DNA using as templates: S22 plasmid DNA (lane 4), S23 plasmid DNA (lane 8), HL60 DNA (lanes 2 and 6) and GE DNA (lanes 3 and 7). B) S2 primers were used to amplify a 395 by region of S2 DNA using as templates: S2 plasmid DNA (lanes 4 and 5), HL60 DNA (lane 2) and GE DNA (lane 3). C) S7 primers were used to amplify a 643 by region of S7 DNA using as templates: S7 plasmid DNA (lane 3), HL60 DNA (lane 4) and GE DNA (lane 2). DNA molecular weight markers (50-1000 bp, FMC) are present in lane 1 of each figure.

FIG. 20: PCR analysis of GE genes. PCR reactions were performed as described in Materials and Methods and the products analyzed using 4% Nusieve gels. S2 primers were used to amplify a 395 by region of S2 DNA using as templates: HL60 DNA (lane 2), S2 plasmid DNA (lane 3), and USG3 DNA (lane 4). S7 primers were used to amplify a 643 by region of S7 DNA using as templates: HL60 DNA (lane 5), S7 plasmid DNA (lane 6), and USG3 DNA (lane 7). S22 primers were used to amplify a 159 bp region of S22 DNA using as templates: HL60 DNA (lane 8), S22 plasmid DNA (lane 9), and USG3 DNA (lane 10). DNA molecular weight markers (50-1000 bp, FMC, Rockland, Me.) are present in lane 1.

FIG. 21. Amino acid sequence (SEQ ID NO:21) which is the translated amino acid sequence for the open reading frame of the C6.1 gene, which begins at nucleotide 312 and ends at nucleotide 1532 of SEQ ID NO:23 (See, FIG. 23).

FIG. 22. Amino acid sequence (SEQ ID NO:22) which is the translated amino acid sequence for the open reading frame of the C6.2 gene, which begins at nucleotide 1542 and ends at nucleotide 2336 of SEQ ID NO:23 (See, FIG. 23).

FIG. 23. DNA sequence of C6 (SEQ ID NO:23). The complete double strand DNA sequence of the C6 insert in Lambda Zap II is shown.

FIG. 24. Western blot analysis of three C clones. Individual recombinant clones of C1, C6, and C7 were grown and induced by IPTG to induce protein expression according to Materials and Methods. Samples of each were electrophoresed on SDS-PAGE gels and transferred to nitrocellulose for Western blotting. SDS-disrupted GE was used as a positive control. The blot was probed with vaccinated mouse “C” sera. Samples are indicated at the top of the gel. Molecular weight markers (in kilodaltons) are shown to the left of the figure.

FIG. 25. PCR analysis of C6. PCR reactions were performed and the products analyzed using 4% Nusieve gels. Primer sequences are listed in Table 5. C6.1 primers (from the first open reading frame, lanes 2, 3, 4) were used to amplify a 500 bp region of C6 DNA using as templates: C6 plasmid DNA (lane 4), HL60 DNA (lane 2) and GE DNA (lane 3). C6.2 primers (from the second open reading frame, lanes 5, 6, 7) were used to amplify a 300 bp region of C6 DNA using as templates: C6 plasmid DNA (lane 7), HL60 DNA (lane 5) and GE DNA (lane 6). Both primer sets were also used together in the same PCR reaction using C6 plasmid DNA as template (lane 8). DNA molecular weight markers (50-1000 bp, FMC) are present in lane 1.

FIG. 26: ClustalW alignment of amino acids encoded by the 550 by PCR product (SEQ ID NO:24) and the MSP-2 protein of A. marginale (GenBank accession number U07862) (SEQ ID NO:25). Identical amino acids are enclosed by boxes. Amino acids which represent conservative codon changes are shown in capital letters.

FIG. 27: Western blot of GE proteins. Samples containing purified USG3 antigen (GE lanes), uninfected HL60 cell proteins (HL60), a pBluescript library clone with no insert (NEG), E46, E8, or E33 were analyzed by SDS-PAGE and transferred to nitrocellulose blots. Blots were probed with either dog (FIG. 27A) or goat (FIG. 27B) sera. Molecular size markers are indicated on the left of each blot. Positions of expressed proteins are indicated by arrows at the right side of each blot. The double arrow on the left indicates the proteins that were excised for peptide sequencing.

FIG. 28: Schematic diagram of E8, E33 and E46 pBluescript inserts. Each strand of the DNA insert is shown as a line; +) plus strand of DNA; −) minus strand of DNA. Boxed regions indicate related open reading frames. The position and orientation (arrows) of the lacZ promoter is indicated.

FIG. 29: Sequence of the GE E8 msp2 gene (SEQ ID NO:26). Nucleotide numbers are indicated at the left. The ATG start codon and TAA stop codon are shown in bold type. The translated amino acid sequence for the open reading frame is displayed underneath the DNA sequence using the single letter amino acid code (SEQ ID NO:27). A possible ribosome binding site upstream of the ATG codon is also underlined.

FIG. 30: Complete sequence of E46. The nucleotide number is indicated above the sequences. The complete DNA sequence of the E46 insert in Lambda Zap II is shown (SEQ ID NO:28). The translated amino acid sequences for the open reading frames are displayed underneath the DNA sequences. The amino acid sequence of E46#1 which begins at nucleotide 305 and ends at nucleotide 1282, is shown (SEQ ID NO:29). The amino acid sequence of E46#2 which begins at nucleotide 1346 and ends at nucleotide 2437, is show (SEQ ID NO:30).

FIG. 31: ClustalW alignment of GE MSP-2 and A. marginale MSP-2 (U07862) protein sequences (SEQ ID NOS:27, 29-31). Identical amino acids are enclosed by boxes. Amino acids which represent conservative codon changes are indicated by capital letters. The symbol - - - denotes a gap used to achieve optimal alignment between the sequences.

FIG. 32: Southern blot analysis of USG3 genomic DNA. Genomic DNA from USG3 or HL60 cells was digested with the restriction enzymes indicated above the lanes and Southern blotted. Eco RI-digested E8 plasmid DNA was used as a positive control for probe hybridization and calf thymus DNA (CT) as a negative control. The blots were hybridized with digoxigenin-labeled probe A (5′ end of E8 msp-2A) (FIG. 32B) or probe B (3′ end of E8 msp-2A) (FIG. 32A).

FIG. 33: Western blot analysis of E33 bacterial cultures expressing MSP-2A and MSP-2B probed with HGE patient sera. Bacterial cultures of E33 MSP-2A (top) and MSP-2B (bottom) were analyzed by SDS-PAGE and the proteins transferred to nitrocellulose blots. The blots were cut into strips and probed with patient sera #1-14 as indicated above the lanes. These numbers correspond to the patient numbers shown in Table 7. Immune(+) and preimmune(−) dog and goat sera were also used as positive and negative controls. Molecular size markers are indicated on the left side of each blot. The arrows show the positions of the MSP-2 proteins.

FIG. 34: Amino acid sequence of 64 kDa protein degenerate primer sequences derived therefrom (SEQ ID NOS:32-33) are listed for SEQ ID NOS:34 and 35 (peptides 24 and 25, respectively). Amino Acids from which the primer sequences were generated are underlined. Two other peptides are listed: peptide #23 (SEQ ID NO:36) and peptide #26 (SEQ ID NO:37). Undetermined positions of the peptide sequences are designated with an asterisk (*).

FIG. 35: Linear map of pBluescript S11. Boxes on either end represent vector sequences and the solid center line denotes the insert. The T3 and T7 promoter sequences are positioned as indicated and the S11 gene is shown as a bold line.

FIG. 36. Nucleic acid sequence (SEQ ID NO:38) and amino acid sequence (SEQ ID NO:39) of S11/GE 59 kDa. Start and stop codons are in bold type. Sequenced peptides are underlined in FIG. 36.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The sequencing and protein analysis of nine recombinant clones (S2, S7, S22, S23, C6, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2) identified by immunological screening of a GE genomic library is described. Two of these clones, S22 and S23, encode identical proteins which differ only by the loss of a repeated region in S23. One clone, C6, contains two open reading frames encoding polypeptides C6.1, C6.2. Clones E8, E46#1, and E46#2 contain conserved amino- and carboxy-terminus regions. These genomic DNA isolates were proven to be specific to GE based on PCR analysis of GE DNA and HL60 DNA.

Of the hundreds of phage plaques that came up positive using either convalescent dog sera or vaccinated mouse sera, the vast majority were identified as either group I (e.g., S22 or S23), group II (e.g., S2), group III (e.g., S7). The genes described herein most likely encode immunodominant GE antigens which may also be present in more than one copy in the GE genome. Other immunodominant rickettsial antigens have been shown to be important diagnostic reagents and vaccine targets including the outer membrane polypeptides of Anaplasma marginale (Tebele et al., Infect. Immun. 59:3199-3204 (1991)), immunogenic proteins of Cowdria rumantiun (Mahan et al., Microbiology 140:2135-2142 (1994); van Vliet et al., Infect. Immun. 62:1451-1456 (1994)), the 120 kDa immunodominant protein of E. chaffeensis (Yu et al., J. Clin. Micro. 34:2853-2855 (1996)), the immuno-dominant surface protein antigen of Rickettsia prowazekii (Dasch et al., in Microbiology, D. Schlessinger (ed.), American Society for Microbiology, Washington, D.C., (1984), pp. 251-256), and two Rickettsia rickettsii surface proteins (Anacker et al., Infect. Immun. 55:825-827 (1987); Sumner et al., Vaccine 13:29-35 (1995)). Many of these proteins contain highly repeated regions similar to those found for GE proteins. Repetitive protein domains have been shown to function in ligand binding—(Wren, Mol. Microbiol. 5:797-803 (1991)) and may function to facilitate rickettsial uptake by host cell membranes.

For purposes of clarity of disclosure, and not by way of limitation, the detailed description of the invention is divided into the following subsections:

    • I. Isolated Nucleic Acid Molecules Coding for S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 Polypeptides;
    • II. Recombinantly Produced S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 Polypeptides;
    • III. A Nucleic Acid Probe for the Specific Detection of S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2;
    • IV. A Method of Detecting The Presence of S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 in a Sample;
    • V. A Kit for Detecting the Presence of S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 in a Sample;
    • VI. DNA Constructs Comprising S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 Nucleic Acid Molecule and Cells Containing These Constructs;
    • VII. An Antibody Having Binding Affinity to S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 Polypeptide and a Hybridoma Containing the Antibody;
    • VIII. A Method of Detecting a S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 Polypeptide or Antibody in a Sample;
    • IX. A Diagnostic Kit Comprising S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 Protein or Antibody;
    • X. Diagnostic Screening; and
    • XI. Vaccines
      I. Isolated Nucleic Acid Molecules Coding for S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 Polypeptides

In one embodiment, the present invention relates to isolated nucleic acid molecules comprising a polynucleotide sequence at least 90% identical (more preferably, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, 99%, or 100% identical) to a sequence selected from:

(a) a nucleotide sequence encoding the S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, or E46#1, E46#2 polypeptide comprising the complete amino acid sequence in SEQ ID NOS:4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29, and 30, respectively;

(b) a nucleotide sequence encoding the S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 polypeptide comprising the complete amino acid sequence encoded by the polynucleotide clone contained in ATCC Deposit Nos. 97844, 97840, 97842, 97843, 97841, 97841, 209740, 209736, 209743, and 209743 respectively (note, C6.1 and C6.2, are encoded by the polynucleotide clone contained in ATCC Deposit No. 97841 and that E46#1 and E46#2 are encoded by the polynucleotide clone contained in ATCC Deposit No. 209743); and

(c) a nucleotide sequence complementary to any of the nucleotide sequences in (a) or (b).

The S2, S7, S22, S23, and C6 (encoding C6.1 and C6.2) nucleic acids were deposited at the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC), 12301 Parklawn Drive, Rockville, Md. 20852, USA on Dec. 31, 1996 as ATCC Deposit Nos. 97844, 97840, 97842, 97843, and 97841, respectively. The S11, E8, and E46 (encoding E46#1 and E46#2) nucleic acids were deposited at the ATCC on Mar. 31, 1998 as ATCC Deposit Nos. 209740, 209736 and 209743, respectively.

In one preferred embodiment, the isolated nucleic acid molecule comprises a GE S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 nucleotide sequence with greater than 90% identity or similarity to the nucleotide sequence present in SEQ ID NOS:3, 5, 1, 7, 23, 23, 38, 26, 28 or 28 (preferably greater than 95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, 99% or 100%), respectively. In another preferred embodiment, the isolated nucleic acid molecule comprises the S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2 S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 nucleotide sequence present in SEQ ID NOS:3, 5, 1, 7, 23, 23, 38, 26, 28, or 28, respectively. In another embodiment, the isolated nucleic acid molecule encodes the S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 amino acid sequence present in SEQ ID NOS:4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29, or 30, respectively.

Also included within the scope of this invention are the functional equivalents of the herein-described isolated nucleic acid molecules and derivatives thereof. For example, the nucleic acid sequences depicted in SEQ ID NOS:3, 5, 1, 7, 23, 23, 38, 26, 28, or 28 can be altered by substitutions, additions or deletions that provide for functionally equivalent molecules. Due to the degeneracy of nucleotide coding sequences, other DNA sequences which encode substantially the same amino acid sequence as depicted in SEQ ID NOS:4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29, or 30 can be used in the practice of the present invention. These include but are not limited to nucleotide sequences comprising all or portions of S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 nucleic acid depicted in SEQ ID NOS:3, 5, 1, 7, 23, 23, 38, 26, or 28, respectively which are altered by the substitution of different codons that encode a functionally equivalent amino acid residue within the sequence.

In addition, the nucleic acid sequence can comprise a nucleotide sequence which results from the addition, deletion or substitution of at least one nucleotide to the 5′-end and/or the 3′-end of the nucleic acid formula shown in SEQ ID NOS:3, 5, 1, 7, 23, 23, 38, 26, 28, or 28 or a derivative thereof. Any nucleotide or polynucleotide can be used in this regard, provided that its addition, deletion or substitution does not substantially alter the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NOS:4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29, or 30 which is encoded by the nucleotide sequence. Moreover, the nucleic acid molecule of the present invention can, as necessary, have restriction endonuclease recognition sites added to its 5′-end and/or 3′-end. All variations of the nucleotide sequence of the S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 gene and fragments thereof permitted by the genetic code are, therefore, included in this invention.

Further, it is possible to delete codons or to substitute one or more codons by codons other than degenerate codons to produce a structurally modified polypeptide, but one which has substantially the same utility or activity of the polypeptide produced by the unmodified nucleic acid molecule. As recognized in the art, the two polypeptides are functionally equivalent, as are the two nucleic acid molecules which give rise to their production, even though the differences between the nucleic acid molecules are not related to degeneracy of the genetic code.

A. Isolation of Nucleic Acid

In one aspect of the present invention, isolated nucleic acid molecules coding for polypeptides having amino acid sequences corresponding to S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 are provided. In particular, the nucleic acid molecule can be isolated from a biological sample (preferably of mammalian or tick origin) containing GE RNA or DNA.

The nucleic acid molecule can be isolated from a biological sample containing GE RNA using the techniques of cDNA cloning and subtractive hybridization. The nucleic acid molecule can also be isolated from a cDNA library using a homologous probe.

The nucleic acid molecule can be isolated from a biological sample containing genomic DNA or from a genomic library. Suitable biological samples include, but are not limited to, whole organisms, organs, tissues, blood and cells. The method of obtaining the biological sample will vary depending upon the nature of the sample.

One skilled in the art will realize that genomes can be subject to slight allelic variations between individuals. Therefore, the isolated nucleic acid molecule is also intended to include allelic variations, so long as the sequence is a functional derivative of the S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 coding sequence. When an S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2, allele does not encode the identical sequence to that found in SEQ ID NOS:3, 5, 1, 7, 23, 23, 38, 26, 28 or 28 it can be isolated and identified as S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 using the same techniques used herein, and especially PCR techniques to amplify the appropriate gene with primers based on the sequences disclosed herein.

One skilled in the art will realize that organisms other than GE will also contain S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 genes. The invention is intended to include, but not be limited to, S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 nucleic acid molecules isolated from the above-described organisms. Also, infected eukaryotes (for example, mammals, birds, fish and humans) may contain the S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 genes.

B. Synthesis of Nucleic Acid

Isolated nucleic acid molecules of the present invention are also meant to include those chemically synthesized. For example, a nucleic acid molecule with the nucleotide sequence which codes for the expression product of S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 gene can be designed and, if necessary, divided into appropriate smaller fragments. Then an oligomer which corresponds to the nucleic acid molecule, or to each of the divided fragments, can be synthesized. Such synthetic oligonucleotides can be prepared, for example, by the triester method of Matteucci et al., J. Am. Chem. Soc. 103:3185-3191 (1981) or by using an automated DNA synthesizer.

An oligonucleotide can be derived synthetically or by cloning. If necessary, the 5′-ends of the oligomers can be phosphorylated using T4 polynucleotide kinase. Kinasing of single strands prior to annealing or for labeling can be achieved using an excess of the enzyme. If kinasing is for the labeling of probe, the ATP can contain high specific activity radioisotopes. Then, the DNA oligomer can be subjected to annealing and ligation with T4 ligase or the like.

II. Recombinantly Produced S2, S7, S22, S23, C61, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 Polypeptides

In another embodiment, the present invention relates to a purified polypeptide (preferably, substantially pure) having an amino acid sequence corresponding to S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2 S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 or a functional derivative thereof. In a preferred embodiment, the polypeptide has the amino acid sequence set forth in SEQ ID NOS:4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29, or 30, respectively, or mutant or species variation thereof, or at least 60% identity or at least 70% similarity thereof (preferably, at least 85%, 90%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, or 99% identity or at least 95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, or 99% similarity thereof), or at least 6 contiguous amino acids thereof (preferably, at least 10, 15, 20, 25, or 50 contiguous amino acids thereof).

In a preferred embodiment, the invention relates to S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 epitopes. The epitope of these polypeptides is an immunogenic or antigenic epitope. An immunogenic epitope is that part of the protein which elicits an antibody response when the whole protein is the immunogen. An antigenic epitope is a fragment of the protein which can elicit an antibody response. Methods of selecting antigenic epitope fragments are well known in the art. (Sutcliffe et al., Science 219:660-666 (1983)). Antigenic epitope-bearing peptides and polypeptides of the invention are useful to raise an immune response that specifically recognizes the polypeptides. Antigenic epitope-bearing peptides and polypeptides of the invention comprise at least 7 amino acids (preferably, 9, 10, 12, 15, or 20 amino acids) of the proteins of the invention. Non-limiting examples of antigenic polypeptides or peptides include those listed in Table 1, below.

TABLE 1
Antigenic Epitopes
Size1 Amino Acids2
S2 10 181-190
22 411-432
15 636-650
S7 16 13-28
10 73-82
11 496-506
S22 13 41-53
17 168-184
19 317-335
S23 15  6-20
11 78-88
18 387-404
C6.1 9 110-118
9 338-346
11 353-363
C6.2 12 65-76
9 104-112
9 170-178
S11 12  90-101
17 144-160
9 334-342
E8 10 40-49
12 132-143
15 261-275
E46.#1 9 32-41
12 125-136
20 222-241
E46.#2 12 55-66
14 177-190
10 291-300
1Number of amino acids.
2See FIGS. 7, (S2), 9 (S7), 5 (S22), 11 (S23), 17 (C6.1), 18 (C6.2) and 23 (S11) for amino acid numbering.

Amino acid sequence variants of S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 can be prepared by mutations in the DNA. Such variants include, for example, deletions from, or insertions or substitutions of, residues within the amino acid sequence shown in SEQ ID NOS:4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29, or 30. Any combination of deletion, insertion, and substitution can also be made to arrive at the final construct, provided that the final construct possesses the desired activity.

While the site for introducing an amino acid sequence variation is predetermined, the mutation per se need not be predetermined. For example, to optimize the performance of a mutation at a given site, random mutagenesis can be conducted at the target codon or region and the expressed S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 variants screened for the optimal combination of desired activity. Techniques for making substitution mutations at predetermined sites in DNA having a known sequence are well known, for example, site-specific mutagenesis.

Preparation of a S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 variant in accordance herewith is preferably achieved by site-specific mutagenesis of DNA that encodes an earlier prepared variant or a nonvariant version of the protein. Site-specific mutagenesis allows the production of S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 variants through the use of specific oligonucleotide sequences that encode the DNA sequence of the desired mutation. In general, the technique of site-specific mutagenesis is well known in the art, as exemplified by publications such as Adelman et al., DNA 2:183 (1983) and Ausubel et al. “Current Protocols in Molecular Biology”, J. Wiley & Sons, New York, N.Y., 1996.

As will be appreciated, the site-specific mutagenesis technique can employ a phage vector that exists in both a single-stranded and double-stranded form. Typical vectors useful in site-directed mutagenesis include vectors such as the M13 phage, for example, as disclosed by Messing et al., Third Cleveland Symposium on Macromolecules and Recombinant DNA, A. Walton (ed.), Elsevier, Amsterdam (1981). These phage are readily commercially available and their use is generally well known to those skilled in the art. Alternatively, plasmid vectors that contain a single-stranded phage origin of replication (Vieira et al., Meth. Enzymol. 153:3 (1987)) can be employed to obtain single-stranded DNA.

In general, site-directed mutagenesis in accordance herewith is performed by first obtaining a single-stranded vector that includes within its sequence a DNA sequence that encodes the relevant protein. An oligonucleotide primer bearing the desired mutated sequence is prepared, generally synthetically, for example, by the method of Crea et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) 75:5765 (1978). This primer is then annealed with the single-stranded protein-sequence-containing vector, and subjected to DNA-polymerizing enzymes such as E. coli polymerase I Klenow fragment, to complete the synthesis of the mutation-bearing strand. Thus, a mutated sequence and the second strand bears the desired mutation. This heteroduplex vector is then used to transform appropriate cells and clones are selected that include recombinant vectors bearing the mutated sequence arrangement.

After such a clone is selected, the mutated protein region can be removed and placed in an appropriate vector for protein production, generally an expression vector of the type that can be employed for transformation of an appropriate host.

Amino acid sequence deletions generally range from about 1 to 30 residues, more preferably 1 to 10 residues, and typically are contiguous.

Amino acid sequence insertions include amino- and/or carboxyl-terminal fusions of from one residue to polypeptides of essentially unrestricted length, as well as intrasequence insertions of single or multiple amino acid residues. Intrasequence insertions (i.e., insertions within the complete S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 sequence) can range generally from about 1 to 10 residues, more preferably 1 to 5.

The third group of variants are those in which at least one amino acid residue in the S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 molecule, and preferably, only one, has been removed and a different residue inserted in its place. Such substitutions preferably are made in accordance with the following Table 2 when it is desired to modulate finely the characteristics of S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2.

TABLE 2
Original Residue Exemplary Substitutions
Ala gly; ser
Arg lys
Asn gln; his
Asp glu
Cys ser
Gln asn
Glu asp
Gly ala; pro
His asn; gln
Ile leu; val
Leu ile; val
Lys arg; gln; glu
Met leu; tyr; ile
Phe met; leu; tyr
Ser thr
Thr ser
Trp tyr
Tyr trp; phe
Val ile; leu

Substantial changes in functional or immunological identity are made by selecting substitutions that are less conservative than those in Table 2, i.e., selecting residues that differ more significantly in their effect on maintaining (a) the structure of the polypeptide backbone in the area of the substitution, for example, as a sheet or helical conformation, (b) the charge or hydrophobicity of the molecule at the target site, or (c) the bulk of the side chain. The substitutions that in general are expected are those in which (a) glycine and/or proline is substituted by another amino acid or is deleted or inserted; (b) a hydrophilic residue, e.g., seryl or threonyl, is substituted for (or by) a hydrophobic residue, e.g., leucyl, isoleucyl, phenylalanyl, valyl, or alanyl; (c) a cysteine residue is substituted for (or by) any other residue; (d) a residue having an electropositive side chain, e.g., lysyl, arginyl, or histidyl, is substituted for (or by) a residue having an electronegative charge, e.g., glutamyl or aspartyl; or (e) a residue having a bulky side chain, e.g., phenylalanine, is substituted for (or by) one not having such a side chain, e.g., glycine. Some deletions and insertions, and substitutions are not expected to produce radical changes in the characteristics of S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2. However, when it is difficult to predict the exact effect of the substitution, deletion, or insertion in advance of doing so, one skilled in the art will appreciate that the effect will be evaluated by routine screening assays. For example, a variant typically is made by site-specific mutagenesis of the native S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2, encoding-nucleic acid, expression of the variant nucleic acid in recombinant cell culture, and, optionally, purification from the cell culture, for example, by immunoaffinity adsorption on a column (to absorb the variant by binding it to at least one remaining immune epitope). The activity of the cell lysate or purified S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 molecule variant is then screened in a suitable screening assay for the desired characteristic. For example, a change in the immunological character of the S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 molecule, such as affinity for a given antibody, is measured by a competitive type immunoassay. Changes in immunomodulation activity are measured by the appropriate assay. Modifications of such protein properties as redox or thermal stability, hydrophobicity, susceptibility to proteolytic degradation or the tendency to aggregate with carriers or into multimers are assayed by methods well known to the ordinarily skilled artisan.

A variety of methodologies known in the art can be utilized to obtain the peptide of the present invention. In one embodiment, the peptide is purified from tissues or cells which naturally produce the peptide. Alternatively, the above-described isolated nucleic acid fragments can be used to express the S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 protein in any organism. The samples of the present invention include cells, protein extracts or membrane extracts of cells, or biological fluids. The sample will vary based on the assay format, the detection method and the nature of the tissues, cells or extracts used as the sample.

Any prokaryotic (preferably, a granulocytic ehrlichia) organism can be used as a source for the peptide of the invention, as long as the source organism naturally contains such a peptide. A eukaryotic organism infected with granulocytic ehrlichia can also be used as the source organism. As used herein, “source organism” refers to the original organism from which the amino acid sequence of the subunit is derived, regardless of the organism the subunit is expressed in and ultimately isolated from.

One skilled in the art can readily follow known methods for isolating proteins in order to obtain the peptide free of natural contaminants. These include, but are not limited to: immunochromotography, size-exclusion chromatography, HPLC, ion-exchange chromatography, and immuno-affinity chromatography.

III. A Nucleic Acid Probe for the Specific Detection of S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2

In another embodiment, the present invention relates to a nucleic acid probe for the specific detection of the presence of S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 nucleic acid in a sample comprising the above-described nucleic acid molecules or at least a fragment thereof which binds under stringent conditions to S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 nucleic acid.

In one preferred embodiment, the present invention relates to an isolated nucleic acid probe consisting of 10 to 1000 nucleotides (preferably, 10 to 500, 10 to 100, 10 to 50, 10 to 35, 20 to 1000, 20 to 500, 20 to 100, 20 to 50, or 20 to 35) which hybridizes preferentially to RNA or DNA of granulocytic ehrlichia but not to RNA or DNA of non-granulocytic ehrlichia organisms (example, humans), wherein said nucleic acid probe is or is complementary to a nucleotide sequence consisting of at least 10 consecutive nucleotides (preferably, 15, 20, 25, or 30) from the nucleic acid molecule comprising a polynucleotide sequence at least 90% identical to a sequence selected from:

(a) a nucleotide sequence encoding the S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 polypeptide comprising the complete amino acid sequence in SEQ ID NOS:4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29, or 30, respectively;

(b) a nucleotide sequence encoding the S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, E46#2 polypeptide comprising the complete amino acid sequence encoded by the polynucleotide clone contained in ATCC Deposit Nos. 97844, 97840, 97842, 97843, 97841, 97841, 209740, 209736, 209743 or 209743 respectively (note, C6.1 and C6.2 are encoded by the polynucleotide clone contained in ATCC Deposit No. 97841 and E46#1 and E46#2 are encoded by the polynucleotide clone contained in ATCC Deposit No. 209743);

(c) a nucleotide sequence complementary to any of the nucleotide sequences in (a) or (b); and

(d) a nucleotide sequence as previously described above.

Examples of specific nucleic acid probes which can be used in the present invention are set forth in Table 3, below.

TABLE 3
Nucleic Acid Probes
Size1 Nucleotides2
S2 20 2660-2679
37 2643-2679
75 1820-1894
450 2150-2599
S7 20 489-508
35 321-355
75 420-494
450 300-749
S22 23 1220-1242
36 1187-1222
75 1220-1294
450  570-1019
S23 23 974-996
35 962-996
75 720-794
450  600-1049
C6 19 530-548
35 1097-1131
75 1710-1784
450 1850-2299
S11 20 570-589
35 1045-1079
75 1600-1674
450 500-949
E8 20 520-539
35 650-684
75 900-974
450  700-1149
E46 20 1450-1469
35 1800-1834
75 1030-1104
450 400-849
1Number of bases.
2See FIGS. 6 (S2), 8 (S7), 4 (S22), 10 (S23), 16 (C6) and 23 (S11) for nucleotide numbering.

The nucleic acid probe can be used to probe an appropriate chromosomal or cDNA library by usual hybridization methods to obtain another nucleic acid molecule of the present invention. A chromosomal DNA or cDNA library can be prepared from appropriate cells according to recognized methods in the art (cf. Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, 2nd edition, edited by Sambrook, Fritsch, & Maniatis, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 1989).

In the alternative, chemical synthesis is carried out in order to obtain nucleic acid probes having nucleotide sequences which correspond to amino-terminal and carboxy-terminal portions of the S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11 amino acid sequence (See, Table 3) or E8, E46#1, or E46#2 amino acid sequence. Thus, the synthesized nucleic acid probes can be used as primers in a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) carried out in accordance with recognized PCR techniques, essentially according to PCR Protocols, A Guide to Methods and Applications, edited by Michael et al., Academic Press, 1990, utilizing the appropriate chromosomal, cDNA or cell line library to obtain the fragment of the present invention.

One skilled in the art can readily design such probes based on the sequence disclosed herein using methods of computer alignment and sequence analysis known in the art (cf. Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, 2nd edition, edited by Sambrook, Fritsch, & Maniatis, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 1989).

The hybridization probes of the present invention can be labeled by standard labeling techniques such as with a radiolabel, enzyme label, fluorescent label, biotin-avidin label, chemiluminescence, and the like. After hybridization, the probes can be visualized using known methods.

The nucleic acid probes of the present invention include RNA, as well as DNA probes, such probes being generated using techniques known in the art.

In one embodiment of the above described method, a nucleic acid probe is immobilized on a solid support. Examples of such solid supports include, but are not limited to, plastics such as polycarbonate, complex carbohydrates such as agarose and sepharose, and acrylic resins, such as polyacrylamide and latex beads. Techniques for coupling nucleic acid probes to such solid supports are well known in the art.

The test samples suitable for nucleic acid probing methods of the present invention include, for example, cells or nucleic acid extracts of cells, or biological fluids. The sample used in the above-described methods will vary based on the assay format, the detection method and the nature of the tissues, cells or extracts to be assayed. Methods for preparing nucleic acid extracts of cells are well known in the art and can be readily adapted in order to obtain a sample which is compatible with the method utilized.

IV. A Method of Detecting the Presence of S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 in a Sample

In another embodiment, the present invention relates to a method of detecting the presence of S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 nucleic acid in a sample comprising a) contacting the sample with the above-described nucleic acid probe, under specific hybridization conditions such that hybridization occurs, and b) detecting the presence of the probe bound to the nucleic acid molecule. Alternatively, in another preferred embodiment, the method of detecting the presence of S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 nucleic acid in a sample may comprise a) amplifying the nucleic acid in the sample with the nucleic acid probe wherein the amplification uses PCR techniques and b) detecting the presence of the amplified nucleic acid molecules. One skilled in the art would select the nucleic acid probe according to techniques known in the art as described above. Samples to be tested include but should not be limited to RNA samples from human tissue.

V. A Kit for Detecting the Presence of S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 in a Sample

In another embodiment, the present invention relates to a kit for detecting the presence of S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 nucleic acid in a sample comprising at least one container means having disposed therein the above-described nucleic acid probe. In a preferred embodiment, the kit further comprises other containers comprising one or more of the following: wash reagents and reagents capable of detecting the presence of bound nucleic acid probe. Examples of detection reagents include, but are not limited to radiolabelled probes, enzymatic labeled probes (horse radish peroxidase, alkaline phosphatase), and affinity labeled probes (biotin, avidin, or steptavidin).

In detail, a compartmentalized kit includes any kit in which reagents are contained in separate containers. Such containers include small glass containers, plastic containers or strips of plastic or paper. Such containers allow the efficient transfer of reagents from one compartment to another compartment such that the samples and reagents are not cross-contaminated and the agents or solutions of each container can be added in a quantitative fashion from one compartment to another. Such containers will include a container which will accept the test sample, a container which contains the probe or primers used in the assay, containers which contain wash reagents (such as phosphate buffered saline, Tris-buffers, and the like), and containers which contain the reagents used to detect the hybridized probe, bound antibody, amplified product, or the like.

One skilled in the art will readily recognize that the nucleic acid probes described in the present invention can readily be incorporated into one of the established kit formats which are well known in the art.

VI. DNA Constructs Comprising an S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 Nucleic Acid Molecule and Cells Containing these Constructs

In another embodiment, the present invention relates to a recombinant DNA molecule comprising, 5′ to 3′, a promoter effective to initiate transcription in a host cell and the above-described nucleic acid molecules. In another embodiment, the present invention relates to a recombinant DNA molecule comprising a vector and an above-described nucleic acid molecule.

In another embodiment, the present invention relates to a nucleic acid molecule comprising a transcriptional control region functional in a cell, a sequence complimentary to an RNA sequence encoding an amino acid sequence corresponding to the above-described polypeptide, and a transcriptional termination region functional in the cell.

Preferably, the above-described molecules are isolated and/or purified DNA molecules.

In another embodiment, the present invention relates to a cell or non-human organism that contains an above-described nucleic acid molecule.

In another embodiment, the peptide is purified from cells which have been altered to express the peptide.

As used herein, a cell is said to be “altered to express a desired peptide” when the cell, through genetic manipulation, is made to produce a protein which it normally does not produce or which the cell normally produces at low levels. One skilled in the art can readily adapt procedures for introducing and expressing either genomic, cDNA, or synthetic sequences into either eukaryotic or prokaryotic cells.

A nucleic acid molecule, such as DNA, is said to be “capable of expressing” a polypeptide if it contains nucleotide sequences which contain transcriptional and translational regulatory information and such sequences are “operably linked” to nucleotide sequences which encode the polypeptide. An operable linkage is a linkage in which the regulatory DNA sequences and the DNA sequence sought to be expressed are connected in such a way as to permit gene sequence expression. The precise nature of the regulatory regions needed for gene sequence expression can vary from organism to organism, but shall in general include a promoter region which, in prokaryotes, contains both the promoter (which directs the initiation of RNA transcription) as well as the DNA sequences which, when transcribed into RNA, will signal synthesis initiation. Such regions will normally include those 5′-non-coding sequences involved with initiation of transcription and translation, such as the TATA box, capping sequence, CAAT sequence, and the like.

If desired, the non-coding region 3′ to the S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 coding sequence can be obtained by the above-described methods. This region can be retained for its transcriptional termination regulatory sequences, such as termination and polyadenylation. Thus, by retaining the 3′-region naturally contiguous to the DNA sequence encoding an S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 gene, the transcriptional termination signals can be provided. Where the transcriptional termination signals are not satisfactorily functional in the expression host cell, then a 3′ region functional in the host cell can be substituted. Two DNA sequences (such as a promoter region sequence and an S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 coding sequence) are said to be operably linked if the nature of the linkage between the two DNA sequences does not (1) result in the introduction of a frame-shift mutation, (2) interfere with the ability of the promoter region sequence to direct the transcription of a S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 coding sequence, or (3) interfere with the ability of the S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 coding sequence to be transcribed by the promoter region sequence. Thus, a promoter region would be operably linked to a DNA sequence if the promoter were capable of effecting transcription of that DNA sequence.

The present invention encompasses the expression of the S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 coding sequence (or a functional derivative thereof) in either prokaryotic or eukaryotic cells. Prokaryotic hosts are, generally, the most efficient and convenient for the production of recombinant proteins and, therefore, are preferred for the expression of the S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 coding sequence.

Prokaryotes most frequently are represented by various strains of E. coli. However, other microbial strains can also be used, including other bacterial strains. In prokaryotic systems, plasmid vectors that contain replication sites and control sequences derived from a species compatible with the host can be used. Examples of suitable plasmid vectors include pBR322, pUC18, pUC19, pUC118, pUC119 and the like; suitable phage or bacteriophage vectors include λgt10, λgt11 and the like; and suitable virus vectors include pMAM-neo, pKRC and the like. Preferably, the selected vector of the present invention has the capacity to replicate in the selected host cell.

Recognized prokaryotic hosts include bacteria such as E. coli, Bacillus, Streptomyces, Pseudomonas, Salmonella, Serratia, and the like. However, under such conditions, the peptide will not be glycosylated. The prokaryotic host must be compatible with the replicon and control sequences in the expression plasmid.

To express S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 in a prokaryotic cell, it is necessary to operably link the S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 coding sequence to a functional prokaryotic promoter. Such promoters can be either constitutive or, more preferably, regulatable (i.e., inducible or derepressible). Examples of constitutive promoters include the int promoter of bacteriophage λ, the bla promoter of the β-lactamase gene sequence of pBR322, and the CAT promoter of the chloramphenicol acetyl transferase gene sequence of pBR325, and the like. Examples of inducible prokaryotic promoters include the major right and left promoters of bacteriophage λ (PL and PR), the trp, recA, lacZ, lacI, and gal promoters of E. coli, the α-amylase (Ulmanen et al., J. Bacteriol. 162:176-182 (1985)) and the ζ-28-specific promoters of B. subtilis (Gilman et al., Gene sequence 32:11-20 (1984)), the promoters of the bacteriophages of Bacillus (Gryczan, In: The Molecular Biology of the Bacilli, Academic Press, Inc., NY (1982)), and Streptomyces promoters (Ward et al., Mol. Gen. Genet. 203:468-478 (1986)). Prokaryotic promoters are reviewed by Glick (J. Ind. Microbiol. 1:277-282 (1987)); Cenatiempo (Biochimie 68:505-516 (1986)); and Gottesman (Ann. Rev. Genet. 18:415-442 (1984)).

Proper expression in a prokaryotic cell also requires the presence of a ribosome binding site upstream of the gene sequence-encoding sequence. Such ribosome binding sites are disclosed, for example, by Gold et al. (Ann. Rev. Microbiol. 35:365-404 (1981)).

The selection of control sequences, expression vectors, transformation methods, and the like, are dependent on the type of host cell used to express the gene. As used herein, “cell”, “cell line”, and “cell culture” can be used interchangeably and all such designations include progeny. Thus, the words “transformants” or “transformed cells” include the primary subject cell and cultures derived therefrom, without regard to the number of transfers. It is also understood that all progeny can not be precisely identical in DNA content, due to deliberate or inadvertent mutations. However, as defined, mutant progeny have the same functionality as that of the originally transformed cell. Host cells which can be used in the expression systems of the present invention are not strictly limited, provided that they are suitable for use in the expression of the S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 peptide of interest. Suitable hosts include eukaryotic cells.

Preferred eukaryotic hosts include, for example, yeast, fungi, insect cells, mammalian cells either in vivo, or in tissue culture. Preferred mammalian cells include HeLa cells, cells of fibroblast origin such as VERO or CHO-K1, or cells of lymphoid origin and their derivatives.

In addition, plant cells are also available as hosts, and control sequences compatible with plant cells are available, such as the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S and 19S, and nopaline synthase promoter and polyadenylation signal sequences.

Another preferred host is an insect cell, for example Drosophila larvae. Using insect cells as hosts, the Drosophila alcohol dehydrogenase promoter can be used, (Rubin, Science 240:1453-1459 (1988)). Alternatively, baculovirus vectors can be engineered to express large amounts of S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 in insect cells (Jasny, Science 238:1653 (1987); Miller et al., In: Genetic Engineering (1986), Setlow, J. K., et al., eds., Plenum, Vol. 8, pp. 277-297).

Different host cells have characteristic and specific mechanisms for the translational and post-translational processing and modification (e.g., glycosylation, cleavage) of proteins. Appropriate cell lines or host systems can be chosen to ensure the desired modification and processing of the foreign protein expressed.

Any of a series of yeast gene sequence expression systems can be utilized which incorporate promoter and termination elements from the actively expressed gene sequences coding for glycolytic enzymes. These enzymes are produced in large quantities when yeast are grown in mediums rich in glucose. Known glycolytic gene sequences can also provide very efficient transcriptional control signals.

Yeast provides substantial advantages in that it can also carry out post-translational peptide modifications. A number of recombinant DNA strategies exist which utilize strong promoter sequences and high copy number of plasmids which can be utilized for production of the desired proteins in yeast. Yeast recognizes leader sequences on cloned mammalian gene sequence products and secretes peptides bearing leader sequences (i.e., pre-peptides). For a mammalian host, several possible vector systems are available for the expression of S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2.

A wide variety of transcriptional and translational regulatory sequences can be employed, depending upon the nature of the host. The transcriptional and translational regulatory signals can be derived from viral sources, such as adenovirus, bovine papilloma virus, simian virus, or the like, where the regulatory signals are associated with a particular gene sequence which has a high level of expression. Alternatively, promoters from mammalian expression products, such as actin, collagen, myosin, and the like, can be employed. Transcriptional initiation regulatory signals can be selected which allow for repression or activation, so that expression of the gene sequences can be modulated. Of interest are regulatory signals which are temperature-sensitive so that by varying the temperature, expression can be repressed or initiated, or are subject to chemical (such as metabolite) regulation.

As discussed above, expression of S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 in eukaryotic hosts requires the use of eukaryotic regulatory regions. Such regions will, in general, include a promoter region sufficient to direct the initiation of RNA synthesis. Preferred eukaryotic promoters include, for example, the promoter of the mouse metallothionein I gene sequence (Hamer et al., J. Mol. Appl. Gen. 1:273-288 (1982)); the TK promoter of Herpes virus (McKnight, Cell 31:355-365 (1982)); the SV40 early promoter (Benoist et al., Nature (London) 290:304-310 (1981)); the yeast gal4 gene sequence promoter (Johnston et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) 79:6971-6975 (1982); Silver et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) 81:5951-5955 (1984)) and the CMV immediate-early gene promoter (Thomsen et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) 81:659-663 (1984).

As is widely known, translation of eukaryotic mRNA is initiated at the codon which encodes the first methionine. For this reason, it is preferable to ensure that the linkage between a eukaryotic promoter and a S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 coding sequence does not contain any intervening codons which are capable of encoding a methionine (i.e., AUG). The presence of such codons results either in a formation of a fusion protein (if the AUG codon is in the same reading frame as the S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 coding sequence) or a frame-shift mutation (if the AUG codon is not in the same reading frame as the S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 coding sequence).

A S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 nucleic acid molecule and an operably linked promoter can be introduced into a recipient prokaryotic or eukaryotic cell either as a non-replicating DNA (or RNA) molecule, which can either be a linear molecule or, more preferably, a closed covalent circular molecule. Since such molecules are incapable of autonomous replication, the expression of the gene can occur through the transient expression of the introduced sequence. Alternatively, permanent expression can occur through the integration of the introduced DNA sequence into the host chromosome.

In one embodiment, a vector is employed which is capable of integrating the desired gene sequences into the host cell chromosome. Cells which have stably integrated the introduced DNA into their chromosomes can be selected by also introducing one or more markers which allow for selection of host cells which contain the expression vector. The marker can provide for prototrophy to an auxotrophic host, biocide resistance, e.g., antibiotics, or heavy metals, such as copper, or the like. The selectable marker gene sequence can either be directly linked to the DNA gene sequences to be expressed, or introduced into the same cell by co-transfection. Additional elements can also be needed for optimal synthesis of single chain binding protein mRNA. These elements can include splice signals, as well as transcription promoters, enhancer signal sequences, and termination signals. cDNA expression vectors incorporating such elements include those described by Okayama, Molec. Cell. Biol. 3:280 (1983).

In a preferred embodiment, the introduced nucleic acid molecule will be incorporated into a plasmid or viral vector capable of autonomous replication in the recipient host. Any of a wide variety of vectors can be employed for this purpose. Factors of importance in selecting a particular plasmid or viral vector include: the ease with which recipient cells that contain the vector can be recognized and selected from those recipient cells which do not contain the vector; the number of copies of the vector which are desired in a particular host; and whether it is desirable to be able to “shuttle” the vector between host cells of different species. Preferred prokaryotic vectors include plasmids such as those capable of replication in E. coli (such as, for example, pBR322, ColE1, pSC101, pACYC 184, πVX. Such plasmids are, for example, disclosed by Sambrook (cf. Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, second edition, edited by Sambrook, Fritsch, & Maniatis, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 1989). Bacillus plasmids include pC194, pC221, pT127, and the like. Such plasmids are disclosed by Gryczan (In: The Molecular Biology of the Bacilli, Academic Press, NY (1982), pp. 307-329). Suitable Streptomyces plasmids include pIJ101 (Kendall et al., J. Bacteriol. 169:4177-4183 (1987)), and streptomyces bacteriophages such as φC31 (Chater et al., In: Sixth International Symposium on Actinomycetales Biology, Akademiai Kaido, Budapest, Hungary (1986), pp. 45-54). Pseudomonas plasmids are reviewed by John et al. (Rev. Infect. Dis. 8:693-704 (1986)), and Izaki (Jpn. J. Bacteriol. 33:729-742 (1978)).

Preferred eukaryotic plasmids include, for example, BPV, vaccinia, SV40, 2-micron circle, and the like, or their derivatives. Such plasmids are well known in the art (Botstein et al., Miami Wntr. Symp. 19:265-274 (1982); Broach, In: The Molecular Biology of the Yeast Saccharomyces: Life Cycle and Inheritance, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., p. 445-470 (1981); Broach, Cell 28:203-204 (1982); Bollon et al., J. Clin. Hematol. Oncol. 10:39-48 (1980); Maniatis, In: Cell Biology: A Comprehensive Treatise, Vol. 3, Gene Sequence Expression, Academic Press, NY, pp. 563-608 (1980)).

Once the vector or nucleic acid molecule containing the construct(s) has been prepared for expression, the DNA construct(s) can be introduced into an appropriate host cell by any of a variety of suitable means, i.e., transformation, transfection, conjugation, protoplast fusion, electroporation, particle gun technology, calcium phosphate-precipitation, direct microinjection, and the like. After the introduction of the vector, recipient cells are grown in a selective medium, which selects for the growth of vector-containing cells. Expression of the cloned gene molecule(s) results in the production of S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2. This can take place in the transformed cells as such, or following the induction of these cells to differentiate (for example, by administration of bromodeoxyuracil to neuroblastoma cells or the like).

VII. An Antibody Having Binding Affinity to a S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 Polypeptide and a Hybridoma Containing the Antibody

In another embodiment, the present invention relates to an antibody having binding affinity specifically to a S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 polypeptide as described above or specifically to a S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 polypeptide binding fragment thereof. An antibody binds specifically to a S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 polypeptide or to consensus sequences described herein corresponding to the amino- and/or carboxy-terminus regions shared by E8, E46#1, and E46#2, or binding fragment thereof if it does not bind to non-S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 polypeptides. Those which bind selectively to S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 or to consensus sequences described herein corresponding to the amino- and/or carboxy-terminus regions shared by E8, E46#1, and E46#2, would be chosen for use in methods which could include, but should not be limited to, the analysis of altered S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 expression in tissue containing S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2.

The S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 proteins, or proteins including the consensus sequences corresponding to the amino- and/or carboxy-terminus regions shared by E8, E46#1, and E46#2 of the present invention can be used in a variety of procedures and methods, such as for the generation of antibodies, for use in identifying pharmaceutical compositions, and for studying DNA/protein interaction.

The S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 proteins, or proteins including the consensus sequences corresponding to the amino and/or carboxy terminus regions shared by E8, E46#1, and E46#2 of the present invention can be used to produce antibodies or hybridomas. One skilled in the art will recognize that if an antibody is desired, such a peptide would be generated as described herein and used as an immunogen.

The antibodies of the present invention include monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies, as well as fragments of these antibodies. The invention further includes single chain antibodies. Antibody fragments which contain the idiotype of the molecule can be generated by known techniques. For example, such fragments include but are not limited to: the F(ab′)2 fragment; the Fab′ fragments, Fab fragments, and Fv fragments.

Of special interest to the present invention are antibodies to S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, E46#2 or to proteins, or proteins including the consensus sequences corresponding to the amino- and/or carboxy-terminus regions shared by E8, E46#1, and E46#2 which are produced in humans, or are “humanized” (i.e.; non-immunogenic in a human) by recombinant or other technology. Humanized antibodies can be produced, for example by replacing an immunogenic portion of an antibody with a corresponding, but non-immunogenic portion (i.e., chimeric antibodies) (Robinson et al., PCT Application No. PCT/US86/02269; Akira et al., European Patent No. 184,187; Taniguchi, European Patent No. 171,496; Morrison et al., European Patent No. 173,494; Neuberger et al., PCT Application WO 86/01533; Cabilly et al., European Patent No. 125,023; Better, et al., Science 240:1041-1043 (1988); Liu et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 84:3439-3443 (1987); Liu et al., J. Immunol. 139:3521-3526 (1987); Sun, et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 84:214-218 (1987); Nishimura et al., Canc. Res. 47:999-1005 (1987); Wood et al., Nature 314:446-449 (1985)); Shaw et al., J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 80:1553-1559 (1988). General reviews of “humanized” chimeric antibodies are provided by Morrison (Science, 229:1202-1207 (1985)) and by Oi et al., BioTechniques 4:214 (1986)). Suitable “humanized” antibodies can be alternatively produced by CDR or CEA substitution (Jones et al., Nature 321:552-525 (1986); Verhoeyan et al., Science 239:1534 (1988); Beidler et al., J. Immunol. 141:4053-4060 (1988)).

In another embodiment, the present invention relates to a hybridoma which produces the above-described monoclonal antibody. A hybridoma is an immortalized cell line which is capable of secreting a specific monoclonal antibody.

In general, techniques for preparing monoclonal antibodies and hybridomas are well known in the art (Campbell, “Monoclonal Antibody Technology: Laboratory Techniques in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology,” Elsevier Science Publishers, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (1984); St. Groth et al., J. Immunol. Methods 35:1-21 (1980)).

Any animal (mouse, rabbit, and the like) which is known to produce antibodies can be immunized with the selected polypeptide. Methods for immunization are well known in the art. Such methods include subcutaneous or interperitoneal injection of the polypeptide. One skilled in the art will recognize that the amount of polypeptide used for immunization will vary based on the animal which is immunized, the antigenicity of the polypeptide and the site of injection.

The polypeptide can be modified or administered in an adjuvant in order to increase the peptide antigenicity. Methods of increasing the antigenicity of a polypeptide are well known in the art. Such procedures include coupling the antigen with a heterologous protein (such as globulin or β-galactosidase) or through the inclusion of an adjuvant during immunization.

For monoclonal antibodies, spleen cells from the immunized animals are removed, fused with myeloma cells, and allowed to become monoclonal antibody producing hybridoma cells.

Any one of a number of methods well known in the art can be used to identify the hybridoma cell which produces an antibody with the desired characteristics. These include screening the hybridomas with an ELISA assay, western blot analysis, or radioimrnunoassay (Lutz et al., Exp. Cell Res. 175:109-124 (1988)).

Hybridomas secreting the desired antibodies are cloned and the class and subclass is determined using procedures known in the art (Campbell, Monoclonal Antibody Technology: Laboratory Techniques in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, supra (1984)).

For polyclonal antibodies, antibody containing antisera is isolated from the immunized animal and is screened for the presence of antibodies with the desired specificity using one of the above-described procedures.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the above-described antibodies are detectably labeled. Antibodies can be detectably labeled through the use of radioisotopes, affinity labels (such as biotin, avidin, and the like), enzymatic labels (such as horseradish peroxidase, alkaline phosphatase, and the like) fluorescent labels (such as FITC or rhodamine, and the like), paramagnetic atoms, and the like. Procedures for accomplishing such labeling are well-known in the art, for example, see (Sternberger et al., J. Histochem. Cytochem. 18:315 (1970); Bayer et al., Meth. Enzym. 62:308 (1979); Engval et al., Immunol. 109:129 (1972); Goding, J. Immunol. Meth. 13:215 (1976)). The labeled antibodies of the present invention can be used for in vitro, in vivo, and in situ assays to identify cells or tissues which express a specific peptide.

In another embodiment of the present invention the above-described antibodies are immobilized on a solid support. Examples of such solid supports include plastics such as polycarbonate, complex carbohydrates such as agarose and sepharose, acrylic resins and such as polyacrylamide and latex beads. Techniques for coupling antibodies to such solid supports are well known in the art (Weir et al., “Handbook of Experimental Immunology” 4th Ed., Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, England, Chapter 10 (1986); Jacoby et al., Meth. Enzym. 34 Academic Press, N.Y. (1974)). The immobilized antibodies of the present invention can be used for in vitro, in vivo, and in situ assays as well as in immunochromatography.

Furthermore, one skilled in the art can readily adapt currently available procedures, as well as the techniques, methods and kits disclosed above with regard to antibodies, to generate peptides capable of binding to a specific peptide sequence in order to generate rationally designed antipeptide peptides, for example see Hurby et al., “Application of Synthetic Peptides Antisense Peptides”, In Synthetic Peptides, A User's Guide, W.H. Freeman, N.Y., pp. 289-307 (1992), and Kaspczak et al., Biochemistry 28:9230-8 (1989).

Anti-peptide peptides can be generated in one of two fashions. First, the anti-peptide peptides can be generated by replacing the basic amino acid residues found in the S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, and E46#2 peptide sequence or consensus sequences described herein with acidic residues, while maintaining hydrophobic and uncharged polar groups. For example, lysine, arginine, and/or histidine residues are replaced with aspartic acid or glutamic acid and glutamic acid residues are replaced by lysine, arginine or histidine.

VIII. A Method of Detecting a S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 Polypeptide or Antibody in a Sample

In another embodiment, the present invention relates to a method of detecting a S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 polypeptide including the consensus sequence corresponding to the amino- and/or carboxy-terminus regions shared by E8, E46#1, and E46#2 polypeptide in a sample, comprising: a) contacting the sample with an above-described antibody (or protein), under conditions such that immunocomplexes form, and b) detecting the presence of the antibody bound to the polypeptide. In detail, the methods comprise incubating a test sample with one or more of the antibodies of the present invention and assaying whether the antibody binds to the test sample. Altered levels of peptides S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2, or in a sample as compared to normal levels can indicate a specific disease.

In a further embodiment, the present invention relates to a method of detecting a S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 antibody in a sample, comprising: a) contacting the sample with an above-described S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 polypeptide, including the consensus sequence corresponding to the amino- and/or carboxy-terminus regions shared by E8, E46#1, and E46#2 polypeptide under conditions such that immunocomplexes form, and b) detecting the presence of the protein bound to the antibody or antibody bound to the protein. In detail, the methods comprise incubating a test sample with one or more of the proteins of the present invention and assaying whether the antibody binds to the test sample. The presence of antibodies to S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 may indicate exposure to GE, the potential need for therapy of the affected individual, or GE contamination of a biological sample.

Conditions for incubating an antibody with a test sample vary. Incubation conditions depend on the format employed in the assay, the detection methods employed, and the type and nature of the antibody used in the assay. One skilled in the art will recognize that any one of the commonly available immunological assay formats (such as radioimmunoassays, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, diffusion based Ouchterlony, or rocket immunofluorescent assays) can readily be adapted to employ the antibodies of the present invention. Examples of such assays can be found in Chard, An Introduction to Radioimmunoassay and Related Techniques, Elsevier Science Publishers, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (1986); Bullock et al., Techniques in Immunocytochemistry, Academic Press, Orlando, Fla. Vol. 1 (1982), Vol. 2 (1983), Vol. 3 (1985); Tijssen, Practice and Theory of Enzyme Immunoassays: Laboratory Techniques in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Elsevier Science Publishers, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (1985).

The immunological assay test samples of the present invention include cells, protein or membrane extracts of cells, or biological fluids such as blood, serum, plasma, or urine. The test sample used in the above-described method will vary based on the assay format, nature of the detection method and the tissues, cells or extracts used as the sample to be assayed. Methods for preparing protein extracts or membrane extracts of cells are well known in the art and can be readily be adapted in order to obtain a sample which is capable with the system utilized.

IX. A Diagnostic Kit Comprising S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 Protein or Antibody

In another embodiment of the present invention, a kit is provided which contains all the necessary reagents to carry out the previously described methods of detection.

The kit can comprise: i) a first container means containing an above-described antibody, and ii) second container means containing a conjugate comprising a binding partner of the antibody and a label.

The kit can comprise: i) a first container means containing an above-described protein, and preferably, ii) second container means containing a conjugate comprising a binding partner of the protein and a label. More specifically, a diagnostic kit comprises S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, E46#2, or a peptide having consensus sequences corresponding to the amino and/or carboxy terminus regions shared by E8, E46#1, and E46#2 protein as described above, to detect antibodies in the serum of potentially infected animals or humans.

In another preferred embodiment, the kit further comprises one or more other containers comprising one or more of the following: wash reagents and reagents capable of detecting the presence of bound antibodies. Examples of detection reagents include, but are not limited to, labeled secondary antibodies, or in the alternative, if the primary antibody is labeled, the chromophoric, enzymatic, or antibody binding reagents which are capable of reacting with the labeled antibody. The compartmentalized kit can be as described above for nucleic acid probe kits.

One skilled in the art will readily recognize that the antibodies described in the present invention can readily be incorporated into one of the established kit formats which are well known in the art.

X. Diagnostic Screening

It is to be understood that although the following discussion is specifically directed to human patients, the teachings are also applicable to any animal which can be infected with GE.

The diagnostic and screening methods of the invention are especially useful for a patient suspected of being at risk for developing ehrlichiosis.

According to the invention, a pre- and post-symptomatic screening of an individual in need of such screening is now possible using DNA encoding the S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 protein or fragment thereof, or a protein having consensus sequences corresponding to the amino and/or carboxy terminus regions shared by E8, E46#1, and E46#2 of the invention. The screening method of the invention allows a presymptomatic diagnosis of the presence of S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 protein or DNA in individuals, and thus an opinion concerning the likelihood that such individual would develop or has developed ehrlichiosis. Early diagnosis is desired to maximize appropriate timely intervention.

In one preferred embodiment of the method of screening, a tissue sample would be taken from an individual, and screened for (1) the presence of the S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 DNA coding sequence; (2) the presence of S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 mRNA; (3) the presence of S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 protein; and/or (4) the presence of antibody to S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 protein.

A preferred method of detecting the presence of S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 protein and/or the presence of antibody to S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 protein comprises: a) contacting the sample with a polypeptide or antibody to a polypeptide having the amino acid sequence of S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2, or a fragment thereof under conditions such that immunocomplexes form; and b) detecting the presence of the immunocomplexed antibody and polypeptide.

Individuals not infected with GE do not have GE S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 DNA, mRNA, or protein.

The screening and diagnostic methods of the invention do not require that the entire S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 coding sequence be used for the probe. Rather, it is only necessary to use a fragment or length of nucleic acid that is sufficient to detect the presence of the S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 nucleic acid in a DNA preparation from an individual.

Analysis of nucleic acid specific to GE can be by PCR techniques or hybridization techniques (cf. Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, 2nd edition, edited by Sambrook, Fritsch, & Maniatis, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 1989; Eremeeva et al., J. Clin. Microbiol. 32:803-810 (1994) which describes differentiation among spotted fever group Rickettsiae species by analysis of restriction fragment length polymorphism of PCR-amplified DNA). Nucleic acid probes used to analyze GE genomic DNA via PCR analysis have been described in Chen et al., J. Clin. Microbiol. 32:589-595 (1994).

XI. Vaccines

In another embodiment, the present invention relates to a vaccine comprising a GE S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 protein or a fragment thereof, or a protein having consensus sequences corresponding to the amino and/or carboxy terminus regions shared by E8, E46#1, and E46#2 (preferably, an immunologically active fragment) together with a pharmaceutically acceptable diluent, carrier, or excipient, wherein the protein is present in an amount effective to elicit a beneficial immune response in an animal to GE. S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 protein, or a protein having consensus sequences corresponding to the amino- and/or carboxy-terminus regions shared by E8, E46#1, and E46#2 may be obtained as described above and using methods well known in the art. An immunologically active fragment comprises an epitope-bearing portion of the protein.

In a further preferred embodiment, the present invention relates to a composition comprising a GE S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 protein or fragment thereof, or a protein having consensus sequences corresponding to the amino- and/or carboxy-terminus regions shared by E8, E46#1, and E46#2 (preferably, an immunologically reactive fragment-antigenic epitope, examples are listed in Table 1) and a carrier.

In another embodiment, the present invention relates to a vaccine comprising a GE S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 nucleic acid (preferably, DNA) or a fragment thereof (preferably, a fragment encoding an immunologically active protein or peptide), or nucleic acid coding for a polypeptide, or a protein having consensus sequences corresponding to the amino and/or carboxy terminus regions shared by E8, E46#1, and E46#2 together with a pharmaceutically acceptable diluent, carrier, or excipient, wherein the nucleic acid is present in an amount effective to elicit a beneficial immune response in an animal to GE. S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 nucleic acid may be obtained as described above and using methods well known in the art. An immunologically active fragment comprises an epitope-bearing portion of the nucleic acid.

In a further preferred embodiment, the present invention relates to a composition comprising a GE S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, or E46#2 nucleic acid (preferably, DNA) or fragment thereof (preferably, encoding an immunologically reactive protein or fragment-antigenic epitope) and a carrier.

In a further preferred embodiment, the present invention relates to a method of producing an immune response which recognizes GE in a host comprising administering to the host the above-described composition.

In a preferred embodiment, the animal to be protected is selected from humans, horses, deer, cattle, pigs, sheep, dogs, and chickens. In a more preferred embodiment, the animal is a human or a dog.

In a further embodiment, the present invention relates to a method of preventing ehrlichiosis in an animal comprising administering to the animal the above-described vaccine, wherein the vaccine is administered in an amount effective to prevent or inhibit Ehrlichiosis. The vaccine of the invention is used in an amount effective depending on the route of administration. Although intranasal, subcutaneous or intramuscular routes of administration are preferred, the vaccine of the present invention can also be administered by an oral, intraperitoneal or intravenous route. One skilled in the art will appreciate that the amounts to be administered for any particular treatment protocol can be readily determined without undue experimentation. Suitable amounts are within the range of 2 μg of the S2, S7, S22, S23, C6.1, C6.2, S11, E8, E46#1, E46#2 protein, or a protein having consensus sequences corresponding to the amino and/or carboxy terminus regions shared by E8, E46#1, and E46#2 per kg body weight to 100 μg per kg body weight (preferably, 2 μg to 50 μg, 2 μg to 25 μg, 5 μg to 50 μg, or 5 μg to 10 μg).

Examples of vaccine formulations including antigen amounts, route of administration and addition of adjuvants can be found in Kensil, Therapeutic Drug Carrier Systems 13:1-55 (1996), Livingston et al., Vaccine 12:1275 (1994), and Powell et al., AIDS RES, Human Retroviruses 10:5105 (1994).

The vaccine of the present invention may be employed in such forms as capsules, liquid solutions, suspensions or elixirs for oral administration, or sterile liquid forms such as solutions or suspensions. Any inert carrier is preferably used, such as saline, phosphate-buffered saline, or any such carrier in which the vaccine has suitable solubility properties. The vaccines may be in the form of single dose preparations or in multi-dose flasks which can be used for mass vaccination programs. Reference is made to Remington's Pharmaceutical Sciences, Mack Publishing Co., Easton, Pa., Osol (ed.) (1980); and New Trends and Developments in Vaccines, Voller et al. (eds.), University Park Press, Baltimore, Md. (1978), for methods of preparing and using vaccines.

The vaccines of the present invention may further comprise adjuvants which enhance production of antibodies and immune cells. Such adjuvants include, but are not limited to, various oil formulations such as Freund's complete adjuvant (CFA), the dipeptide known as MDP, saponins (e.g., QS-21, U.S. Pat. No. 5,047,540), aluminum hydroxide, or lymphatic cytokines. Freund's adjuvant is an emulsion of mineral oil and water which is mixed with the immunogenic substance. Although Freund's adjuvant is powerful, it is usually not administered to humans. Instead, the adjuvant alum (aluminum hydroxide) may be used for administration to a human. Vaccine may be absorbed onto the aluminum hydroxide from which it is slowly released after injection. The vaccine may also be encapsulated within liposomes according to Fullerton, U.S. Pat. No. 4,235,877.

The present invention is described in further detail in the following non-limiting examples.

EXAMPLES

The following Protocols A-G and experimental details are referenced in the non-limiting examples, Examples 1-16.

Protocol A: Cultivation of GE in HL60 Cells

The GE-infected HL60 cell line, USG3, was obtained by co-culturing HL60 cells (ATCC CCL 240) with blood cells from dogs challenged with field collected Ixodes scapularis ticks. After degenerative cell morphology became noticeable, the infected cells were passed over fresh uninfected HL60 cells to maintain the culture. USG3 was grown in RPMI 1640 containing 10-20% heat-inactivated fetal bovine serum, 2 mM 1-glutamine, 1 mM sodium pyruvate, 0.1 mM MEM non-essential amino acids and was split into fresh HL60 cells two to three times per week. This procedure is also outlined in Coughlin et al., PCT Application No. PCT/US96/10117 and has also been demonstrated by Goodman et al., N. Eng. J. Med. 334:209-215 (1996).

Protocol B: DNA Isolation

USG3 cultures at approximately 80% cell lysis (monitored microscopically) were centrifuged at 840×g for 15 min at 4° C. to remove host HL60 cell debris. The supernatant was filtered through a Poretics (Livermore, Calif.) 5 μm polycarbonate membrane, 47 mm in diameter, followed by a Poretics 3 μm filter under negative pressure. The USG3 filtrate was centrifuged at 9460×g in a Sorvall centrifuge for 30 min at 4° C. Following centrifugation, the GE pellet was resuspended in 5 ml 25 mM Tris, pH 8.0, 10 mM MgCl, and 0.9% NaCl. DNase I (Life Technologies, Gaithersburg, Md.) was added to a final concentration of 9 μg per ml and the solution was incubated for 15 min at 37° C. Following incubation, the DNase was inactivated by the addition of 0.5 ml of 0.5M EDTA and the GE was pelleted at 14,000×g in a Sorvall centrifuge for 30 min at 4° C.

Protocol C: Construction of the GE Genomic Library

Genomic DNA was isolated from purified GE using the QIAamp Genomic DNA kit (Qiagen, Chatsworth, Calif.) for library preparation (Stratagene, La Jolla, Calif.). The DNA was mechanically sheared to a 4-10 kb size range and ligated to EcoRI linkers. Linkered fragments were ligated into the EcoRI site of Lambda Zap II and the library was amplified in E. coli strain XL1-Blue MFR′ to a titer of 1010 Pfu/ml.

Protocol D: Preparation of the Screening Sera

Dog sera: Adult Ixodes scapularis ticks collected from regions of the eastern United States having a high incidence of human Lyme disease were applied to dogs as described (Coughlin et al., J. Infect. Dis. 171:1049-1052 (1995)). Sera from the dogs was tested for immunoreactivity to E. equi by an immunofluorescence assay. Positive sera from infected dogs was pooled and used for immuno screening of the GE genomic library.

Mouse sera: Proteins contained in SDS-disrupted whole GE were separated by SDS-PAGE and forty-six individual bands were excised from each of two gels, 10% and 15% acrylamide. Each gel fragment was mashed, added to buffer and Ribi adjuvant and used to immunize two mice. Sera with similar immuno reactivity patterns against GE antigen as determined by Western blot were pooled into 4 groups: A, B, C, and D.

Goat sera: Mixtures of 100 μg of purified heat-inactivated USG3 antigen were used to immunize goats. Goats received three subcutaneous doses of antigen at bi-weekly intervals. Serum was collected two weeks following the third immunization and used for immunoscreening of the GE genomic DNA library.

Protocol E: Screening of the GE Genomic DNA Library

Bacteriophage were diluted and plated with XL1-Blue MRF′ cells on NZY agar plates. Plates were prepared giving approximately 50,000 plaques per plate. Phages were induced to express cloned protein with 10 mM IPTG (Sigma, St. Louis, Mo.) and transferred to nitrocellulose filters. For immuno screening, filters were blocked in TBS (25 mM Tris HCl, pH 7.5, 0.5 M NaCl) containing 0.1% polyoxyethylene 20 cetyl ether (Brij 58) and incubated with pooled dog sera, pooled mouse sera, or pooled goat sera. The filters were washed and then reacted with anti-dog HRP conjugated antibody, anti-mouse HRP conjugated antibody, or anti-goat HRP conjugated antibody. The filters were washed again and developed with 4-chloronapthol (Bio-Rad).

Positive plaques were isolated, replated and rescreened twice to achieve purity. Plasmid DNA containing the putative recombinant clones was obtained by plasmid rescue (Strategene, La Jolla, Calif.).

Protocol F: DNA Analysis

Restriction enzyme analysis: Standard techniques were followed according to the protocols of Sambrook et al., Molecular Cloning (2nd ed.), Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, New York (1989)).

DNA sequencing and sequencing analysis: DNA sequencing of recombinant clones was performed using the primer walking method and an ABI 373A DNA sequencer (ACGT, Northbrook, Ill.; Lark Technologies, Houston, Tex.; and Sequegen, Shrewsbury, Mass.). Sequences were analyzed by using the MacVector (Oxford Molecular Group) sequence analysis program, version 6.0. The BLAST algorithm, D version 1.4, was used to search for homologous nucleic acid and protein sequences available on the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) server.

PCR amplification of target sequences: DNA oligonucleotide primer sets were designed based on sequencing information from each individual clone. PCR primers were synthesized by Life Technologies, (Gaithersburg, Md.). Templates for PCR were either purified plasmid DNA, purified GE or HL60 genomic DNA, or phage lysates. All reactions were performed using a Gene Amp 9600 thermal cycler (Perkin-Elmer, Conn.), GenAmp reagents from Perkin-Elmer, and TaqStart antibody (Clontech, CA). The cycling program consisted of 30 cycles, each of 30 s at 94° C., 30 s at 48° C. to 55° C., and 1 min at 72° C., and an additional cycle of 10 min at 72° C. PCR products were analyzed on 4% Nusieve 3:1 agarose gels (FMC Bioproducts, Rockland, Me.).

Protocol G: Protein Isolation and Analysis

Overnight cultures of individual clones were diluted 1:25 into TP broth (per liter: 20 g bactotryptone, 2 g Na2HPO4, 1 g KH2PO4, 8 g NaCl, 15 g yeast extract) and grown at 37° C. until an OD600 of 0.5 to 1 was reached. A 1.5 ml aliquot of culture was harvested. IPTG was added to a concentration of 5 mM and growth was continued for 3 hours at 37° C. The OD600 was read and each culture was pelleted. Pellets were resuspended in 5× Laemmli buffer (12% glycerol, 0.2M Tris-HCl, pH 6.8, 5% SDS, 5% β-mercaptoethanol) at 200 μl per 1 OD unit. In the alternative, harvested GE protein preparations were pelletted and resuspended in 0.4% SDS, 12.5 mM Tris, pH 6.8 and heated at 90-100° C. for 20 min. For cell lysis, 50 μl of a cocktail consisting of RNase (33 μg/ml) and aprotinin (0.2 mg/ml) and 9 μl of DNase (0.17 mg/ml) was added per 5 mg of GE. Twenty μl of 25× Boehringer/Mannheim protease inhibitor cocktail (Cat. #1697498) was added per 0.5 ml cell suspension and 2 μl of a PMSF solution (1M in DMSO) was added just prior to cell disruption. Cells were disrupted in 30 second intervals for a total of 3 min in a mini-beadbeater cell disrupter, Type BX-4 (BioSpec), agitated at room temperature for 30 min and centrifuged at 15,000×g for 10 min. The pellet was suspended in Laemmli sample buffer and adjusted to 1.4 mg SDS/mg protein. Samples were boiled and 10 μl of each were electrophoresed on SDS-PAGE gels.

For Western blot analysis, gels were transferred to nitrocellulose filters, the filters were blocked in TBS/Brij 58 and the blots were probed with antisera. Blots were then washed and incubated with HRP conjugated secondary antibody. After a final washing step, blots were developed with 4-chloronapthol (Bio-Rad, Hercules, Calif.) or detected using enhanced chemiluminescence (Pierce, Rockford, Ill.).

Example 1 PCR Amplification and Cloning of GE 16S rDNA

GE was cultivated in HL60 cells as described in Protocol A (supra). Cell extracts were prepared by lysis protocols as described supra. PCR primers (specific for the 16S ribosomal DNA of the genogroup comprising E. equi., E. phagocytophila, and the HGE agent used to amplify DNA from the cell extracts) were modified to include restriction enzyme recognition sites as follows:

forward primer, 5′-CTGCAGGTTTGATCCTGG-3′ (PstI site) (SEQ ID NO:40); reverse primer, 5′-GGATCCTACCTTGTTACGACTT-3′ (BamHI site) (SEQ ID NO:41).

These primers (0.5 μM) were added to a 104.1 reaction mixture containing 1×PCR buffer II (Perkin-Elmer Corp), 1.5 mM MgCl2 (Perkin-Elmer Corp.), 200 μM each dATP, dGTP, dCTP and dTTP, 2.5 U of Amplitaq DNA polymerase and 20 μl of USG3 DNA. Amplification was performed as described in Protocol F. The amplified 1500 bp fragment was digested with Pst I and Bam HI and ligated to pUC19 linearized with the same enzymes. The resulting clone, pUCHGE16S, was sequenced.

Example 2 Isolation of Clones Using Canine Sera

Western blot analysis of the individual recombinant plasmid was performed as described in Protocol G using canine sera prepared as described in Protocol D or a 1:1000 dilution of human sera prepared from two convalescent-phase sera from patients (No. 2 and 3, New York, kindly provided by Dr. Aguero-Rosenfeld) and from an individual in Wisconsin who was part of a seroprevalence study (No. 1, kindly provided by Dr. Bakken). Blots were washed and incubated with biotin-labeled goat anti-dog IgG (Kirkegaard & Perry Laboratories, Inc., Gaithersburg, Md.) followed by peroxidase labeled streptavidin (Kirkegaard & Perry Laboratories, Inc., Gaithersburg, Md.) or HRP conjugated anti-human IgG (Bio-Rad, Hercules, Calif.). After several additional washes, the dog sera blots were developed with 4-chloronapthol (Bio-Rad, Hercules, Calif.). Over 1000 positive clones were identified. Three hundred of these clones (both strong (S) and weak (W) immunoreactivity) were further purified by a secondary screen of the library. From this group, 48 clones were purified as single plaques by a third immunoscreening. Plasmids were rescued according to the Stratagene protocol and DNA was purified using Qiagen plasmid purification kits. Of the original forty-eight clones, seven were not able to be analyzed due to lack of sufficient DNA. A number of restriction digests were performed on each clone to assess their relatedness. Single enzyme digests were performed with EcoRI, HindIII, BamHI, HincII, XbaI, PstI and Alw26I and in some cases a number of double digests were done. Based on these digests restriction maps were generated and most of the clones could be placed into one of three groups—designated groups I, II and III. FIGS. 1-3 show the structures of the three groups based on the restriction enzyme analysis. Another five clones had lost the insert during the plasmid rescue and were not grouped.

Example 3 Characterization of Representative Clones S2, S7. S22, and S23

A representative clone was chosen for further characterization from each of the three groups (see Example 2, supra). These clones, S2, S7, and S22, were sequenced according to Protocol F. S23 was also sequenced since it did not appear to fall into one of these groups. The complete nucleic acid sequence of each of these clones is shown as follows: FIG. 4, group I (S22); FIG. 6, group II (S2); FIG. 8, group III (S7); FIG. 10, (S23). Sequence analysis (MacVector, Oxford Molecular Group) showed that each clone contained a single large open reading frame encoded by the plus strand of the insert and each one appeared to be a complete gene. The amino acid sequences encoded by each clone are shown in FIG. 5 (S22), FIG. 7, (S2), and FIG. 9 (S7), and FIG. 11 (S23). There are also two additional small open reading frames in the S23 DNA insert, one on the negative strand and the other on the positive strand. A comparison of the DNA sequences of the 4 clones revealed that S23 is a group I clone which is missing a stretch of nucleotides in S22 containing two EcoRI sites. The nucleotide sequences of the genes described here have been assigned the following GenBank accession numbers: GE ank (GE 160), AF020521; GE rea (GE 130), AF020522; GE gra (GE 100), AF020523. Further sequence analysis of the four clones showed that all of them contain regions of repeated amino acids.

FIG. 12 represents a schematic diagram of the S22 and S23 proteins and the repeat regions within those proteins. Similarly, FIG. 13 shows the repeat regions of the S2 and S7 proteins in a schematic diagram. Amino acid sequence analysis of the proteins encoded by the three gene clones S22, S2, and S7, showed that all contain regions of repeated amino acids. A schematic version of these repeat structures is shown in FIGS. 14 and 15. The S2 encoded protein (160 kDa) has three groups of repeats. The first set consists of a number of ankyrin-like repeat units of 33 amino acids, the second consists of repeat units of 27 amino acids, and the third consists of repeat units of 11 amino acids. The ankyrin repeats were revealed by a BLAST database search for protein homologies. Ankyrin repeats occur in at least four consecutive copies and are present in yeast, plants, bacteria, and mammals. FIG. 14 shows a multiple alignment of the S2 encoded protein (160 kDa) ankyrin repeats under a consensus sequence derived from the analysis of several hundred similar ankyrin-like motifs. The eighth repeat sequence holds to the consensus only through the first half of the repeat unit and may not represent a full ankyrin-like repeat.

The S22 encoded protein (130 kDa) has a repeat unit of 26 to 34 amino acids which occurs eight times in the carboxy-terminal half of the protein (See FIG. 15). The sequence varies somewhat from repeat to repeat. A database homology search with the NCBI BLAST algorithm revealed that the S22 encoded protein has limited homology to the E. chaffeensis 120 kDa protein. An amino acid sequence alignment of a motif common to both proteins is shown in FIG. 15A. This motif is represented by a bold line and occurs four times in an identical fashion in the E. chaffeensis protein (designated A-1) and eight times with four variations in the 130 kDa protein (a-1, a-2, a-3, and a-4).

The S7 encoded protein (100 kDa) has three large repeat units, which differ somewhat in length (See FIG. 15). A database search revealed that it is similar to the 120 kDa E. chaffeensis protein, which contains four repeats of 80 amino acids each. Both proteins contain large amounts of glutamic acid: 18% for the 100 kDa protein and 17% for the 120 kDa protein. When the two protein sequences are aligned, most of the homology occurs in the repeat regions. FIG. 15B shows alignments for two homologous groups of amino acid motifs from the two proteins (designated B/b and C/c) found with the BLAST algorithm. These are not the only possible alignments of the two proteins but do provide an example of their similarities. The locations of the homologous sequences are indicated by bold or hatched lines above (S7 encoded 100 kDa protein) or below (E. chaffeensis 120 kDa protein) the respective proteins. The B sequence represented by the bold line varies slightly in the E. chaffeensis protein (shown as B-1, B-2, and B-3) and occurs a total of five times. The S7 encoded protein equivalent, b-1, is invariant and occurs three times. The sequence represented by the hatched line occurs four times in E. chaffeensis 120 kDa (C-1) and two times in S7 (C-1).

Samples of recombinant clones were induced to express the encoded protein and bacterial extracts were prepared for SDS-PAGE as outlined in Protocol G. FIG. 16 shows a Western blot containing samples of S2, S7, S22, and FIG. 17 shows a western blot also containing a sample of S23. SDS-disrupted whole GE was used as a positive control and a non-protein expressing clone was run as a negative control. Immunoreactive proteins for all 4 clones were detected by the dog sera. The same proteins were also detected when the blots were probed with sera obtained form a human patient with GE, as evident in FIG. 18. The blots were probed with human antisera. Based on the amino acid sequences of these proteins, the calculated molecular weights are significantly lower than the apparent molecular weights by SDS-PAGE. The calculated (based on the amino acid sequence) and apparent (based on mobility in SDS-PAGE) molecular weights of each protein encoded by the open reading frames of the listed clones are compared in Table 4. This phenomenon has been observed in other proteins (see Barbet et al., Infect. Immun. 59:971-976 (1991); Hollingshead et al., J. Biol. Chem. 261:1677-1686 (1986); Yu et al., Gene 184:149:154 (1997)).

TABLE 4
Clone Calculated Molecular Weight Apparent Molecular Weight
S2 78 kDa 160 kDa
S7 61 kDa 100 kDa
S22 66 kDa 130 kDa
S23 52 kDa  90 kDa

Example 4 Verification that Clones S2, S7, S22, and S23 are GE Derived by PCR Analysis

PCR primer sets were designed based on the sequences of each of the three GE clones and are as described in Table 5. The sequences of each primer set indicated in Table 5 were used to amplify regions of the listed clones (SEQ ID NOS:47-52). Each oligonucleotide sequence is shown in the 5′ to 3′ orientation. Each 50 μl reaction contained 0.5 μM of each primer, 1×PCR Supermix (Life Technologies, Gaithersburg, Md.) and either 100 ng USG3 DNA, 100 ng HL60 DNA or 200 ng plasmid DNA. PCR amplification was performed as described in Protocol F.

TABLE 5
Clone Forward Primer Reverse Primer
S22 CACGCCTTCTTCTAC (SEQ ID NO:42) CTCTGTTGCTATAGGGGC (SEQ ID NO:43)
S7 GATGTTGCTTCGGGTATGC (SEQ ID NO:44) CAGAGATTACTTCTTTTTGCGG (SEQ ID NO:45)
S2 GCGTCTCCAGAACCAG (SEQ ID NO:46) CCTATATAGCTTACCG (SEQ ID NO:47)

These experiments established that the sequenced genes were derived from GE DNA and not HL60 DNA, and allowed the elimination of duplicate clones prior to plasmid rescue and DNA isolation by using them in PCR of phage lysates. Primer pairs specific for S22/S23, S2 and S7 were used in separate PCR reactions to amplify three different templates: GE DNA, HL60 DNA, or the purified plasmid DNA of each clone. FIGS. 19 and 20 show the results obtained for primers of S22, S23, S2, and S7 using the PCR conditions outlined above. All three clones were specific to GE and were not present in HL60 DNA. In each case the size of the PCR product using genomic DNA as template was the same as that generated by purified plasmid DNA.

Example 5 Further Characterization of Isolated GE Clones

The same primer pairs (supra) were also used to confirm or establish the identity of each purified phage stock from all 48 clones derived from the library screening with the dog sera. Every isolate, with one exception (W20), was either a group I, II, or III clone, as evident in Table 6 below. Clones were isolated by immunoscreening with convalescent dog sera. Each clone is classified as a group I, II or III clone based on PCR with primers specific for the group I, II or III DNA sequences. Clone W20 was the only clone different from the other 3 groups.

TABLE 6
Clone Name Group
S1 II
S2 II
S3 II
S5 II
S6 III
S7 III
S8 I
S9 I
S10 I
S11 I
S12 II
S13 II
S14 I
S19 II
S22 I
S23 I
S24 I
S25 I
S27 I
S32 II
W1 II
W2 I
W3 I
W4 I
S16 III
S17 III
S18 I
S20 III
S21 III
S28 III
S30 II
S33 III
W5 II
W7 II
W8 I
W9 III
W10 III
W11 I
W13 I
W14 I
W15 II
W16 III
W17 I
W18 I
W19 III
W20
W21 I
W22 III

Example 6 Isolation of Clones Using Murine Sera

Four different pools of sera (designated A, B, C, and D) obtained from mice immunized with gel band samples of GE protein (Protocol D) were used to screen the GE genomic DNA library. Twenty-six clones were plaque purified and used for further analysis. These were designated A1, A2, A8, A11, A14, A16; B1, B3, B6, B8, B9, B12; C1, C3, C5, C6, C7, C10, C11; D1, D2, D7, D8, D9, D11, and D14. Plasmid DNA was rescued from each clone and restriction analyses were performed. Several of the clones (A 14, B12, C3, C5, D1, D2, D9 and D11) had no insert. Of the remaining clones, nine could be placed into one of two groups due to similarities in their restriction enzyme patterns. The first group included all of the C clones and the second group consisted of all of the D clones plus B3. Some of the other clones were not grouped at this stage due to lack of sufficient DNA.

Example 7 Characterization of Representative Clone C6

One representative clone from the C group (C6) was selected for DNA sequencing. The insert of 2.7 kb contained two open reading frames (designated C6.1, C6.2, and whose amino acid sequences are given in FIGS. 21 and 22, respectively) on the plus strand which were separated by 9 nucleotides (FIG. 23). A search of the protein/nucleotide databases revealed that the first amino acid sequence (C6.1) has significant homology to dihydrolipoamide succinyltransferase, an enzyme involved in the oxidative decarboxylation of pyruvate and 2-oxoglutarate (Spencer et al., Eur. J. Biochem. 141:361-374 (1984)). The second amino acid sequence (C6.2) is homologous to a methionine aminopeptidase found in several types of bacterial species.

Clones, C1, C6, and C7, were induced to express the encoded protein and bacterial extracts were prepared for SDS-PAGE. FIG. 24 shows a Western blot of these samples electrophoresed next to SDS-disrupted whole GE. The immune mouse serum designated “C” was used to probe the blot. All three recombinant clones expressed a protein of the same molecular weight, about 50 kDa. The calculated molecular weights of C6.1, C6.2 are 44 kDa and 29 kDa, respectively. Thus, based on size, C6.1 is more likely to be the expressed recombinant protein detected by immunoscreening.

DNA sequencing also revealed that the group of clones consisting of all of the D clones and the B3 clone contained an open reading frame for a protein with homology to the heat shock protein hsp70.

Based on the DNA sequences of each clone, PCR primers were designed to amplify specific regions of each open reading frame contained in C6. The primers used were as follows:

forward primer for C6.1: 5′-CAGGCAGTGAGCACTCAAAAACC-3′ (SEQ ID NO:48);

reverse primer for C6.1: 5′-GCGACTCCAATGTTACAATAGTCCC-3′ (SEQ ID NO:49);

forward primer for C6.2: 5′-TGTGATCCTCGATGGTTGGC-3′ (SEQ ID NO:50);

reverse primer for C6.2: 5′-CCCTCCTGAATCGTAACATCATCC-3′ (SEQ ID NO:51).

FIG. 25 shows the results obtained with each primer pair using GE DNA, HL60 DNA or the C6 plasmid DNA as templates in a PCR reaction. Both primer sets amplified a region of the expected size using GE or plasmid templates but not the HL60 template. Thus both C6 genes are GE specific.

The C6 primers were also used to amplify phage lysates from each of the other twenty-five clones isolated using the immune mouse sera. In addition to all of the C clones, the C6.1 and C6.2 genes were also found in A1, A11, A14 and A 16.

The following examples (Examples 8-15) all relate to the characterization of the GE immunoreactive protein in the 42-45 kDa molecular mass range.

Example 8 SDS-PAGE and Peptide Sequencing of Immunoreactive Proteins

To characterize the GE proteins in the 42 to 45 kDa range, a 50 μl of a cocktail consisting of RNase (33 μg/ml) and aprotinin (0.2 mg/ml) and 9 μl of DNase (0.17 mg/ml) was added per 5 mg of USG3 pellet in 2 mM MgCl2, 50 mM Tris-HCl, pH 7.5 buffer. Twenty μl of 25× Boehringer/Mannheim protease inhibitor cocktail was added per 0.5 ml cell suspension and 2 μl of a PMSF solution (1M in DMSO) was added just prior to USG3 disruption. Cells were disrupted in 30 second intervals for a total of 3 min. in a mini-beadbeater cell disrupter, Type BX-4 (BioSpec), agitated at room temperature for 30 min and centrifuged at 15,000×g for 10 min. The pellet was suspended in Laemmli sample buffer and adjusted to 1.4 mg SDS per mg protein, and heated at 90-100° C. for 5 min. The protein concentration was determined by BCA assay (Pierce Chemical Co., Rockford, Ill.). Electrophoresis was performed on a 15% SDS-PAGE gel and proteins were transferred onto a 0.2 μm PVDF membrane. Half of the blot was probed with anti-GE dog sera (6) and the other half was stained with Ponceau S. Two protein bands which matched the molecular mass of the two most immunoreactive bands on the Western blot (43 and 45 kDa) were excised. A portion of each band was used for direct N-terminal sequencing. The remaining material was digested with trypsin in situ and individual peptides were separated by RP-HPLC on a ZORBAX C18 (1 mm×150 mm) column. The peptides were analyzed and screened by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. Sequencing of peptides was performed by Edman degradation (Harvard Microchemistry, Cambridge, Mass.). An N-terminal peptide and two internal peptides were obtained for each protein (Table 7).

TABLE 7
Peptide Sequences from Transblotted GE Proteins
Homology
N-terminal to A.
(N) or marginale
Internal (I) MSP-2 Location
45 kDa
HDDVSALETGGAGYFa N no MSP2-A,
(SEQ ID NO:66) MSP-2C (1)b
SGDNGSLADYTDGGASQTNK I no MSP2-A
(SEQ ID NO:67)
AVGVSHPGIDK I no MSP2-A,
(SEQ ID NO:68) MSP-2C (2)
43 kDa
HDDVSALETGGAGYF N no MSP2-A,
(SEQ ID NO:66) MSP-2C (1)
FDWNTPDPR I yes MSP2-A,
(SEQ ID NO:69) MSP-2C
LSYQLSPVISAFAGGFYH I yes MSP2-A,
(SEQ ID NO:70) MSP-2b (1)
aAmino acids are shown using the single letter code.
bNumbers in parentheses indicate the number of amino acid changes from the sequence shown.

The results show that the amino-terminal peptides from the two proteins are identical. A BLAST homology search showed that two of the internal peptides from the 43 kDa protein were homologous to the MSP-2 proteins of Anaplasma marginale, a rickettsial hemoparasite of livestock (Palmer et al. Infect. Immun. 62:3808-3816 (1994)) which is phylogenetically closely related to the GE (Dumler et al., J. Clin. Microbiol. 33:1098-1103) (1995).

Example 9 PCR Amplification of USG3 Genomic DNA

To obtain additional sequence information for these proteins, degenerate pools of oligonucleotides were synthesized based on the reverse translation of the peptide sequences and used to amplify DNA from USG3. The reverse complement of each oligonucleotide was also synthesized with the exception of the one corresponding to the amino-terminal peptide. PCR amplifications were performed using one forward and one reverse primer set using USG3 genomic DNA as template and an annealing temperature of 55° C. Primer pairs either gave no PCR product or a single band. The primer pair that resulted in generating the longest product, 550 bp, consisted of the forward primer 5′-ACNGGNGGNGCWGGNTAYTTY-3′ (SEQ ID NO:71) (amino-terminal peptide HDDVSALETGGAGYF (SEQ ID NO:66)) and the reverse primer 5′-CCNCCRTCNGTRTARTCNGC-3′ (SEQ ID NO:72) (peptide SGDNGSLADYTDGGASQTNK (SEQ ID NO:67)). This DNA was sequenced and found to contain an open reading frame with homology to the MSP-2 protein of A. marginale (FIG. 26). Two other peptides, one from the 45 kDa protein and one from the 43 kDa protein, were also contained within this sequence. The similarity in protein sequence between the two immunoreactive 43 and 45 kDa proteins may indicate that they are differentially modified or processed versions of the same protein or they may represent proteins expressed from two different members of a gene family.

Example 10 Isolation of Clones Using Goat Sera

A goat serum reactive against proteins of the HGE agent was obtained by immunizing animals 3 times with purified USG3 antigen. Western blot analysis showed that many proteins of various molecular mass were recognized by this serum including the 43 and 45 kDa proteins (FIG. 27, GE lanes). The USG3 genomic expression library (prepared as described in Protocol C) was screened with immune goat serum and several immunoreactive plaques were identified for further analysis. To eliminate clones previously isolated using immune dog sera, phage supernatants from the plaques were screened by PCR using primers based on the sequences of those previously identified clones. Bacteriophage were plated with XL1-Blue MRF′ and induced to express protein with 10 mM IPTG (Sigma, St. Louis, Mo.). Proteins were transferred to nitrocellulose filters and the filters were washed with TBS (25 mM Tris HCl, pH 7.5, 0.5 M NaCl). Washed filters were blocked in TBS containing 0.1% polyoxyethylene 20 cetyl ether (Brij 58) and incubated with a 1:1000 dilution of goat serum depleted of anti-E. coli antibodies. The filters were washed and incubated with rabbit anti-goat Ig HRP conjugated antibody (1:2000 dilution), rewashed and developed with 4-chloronapthol. Positive plaques were isolated, replated and screened again. Plasmid DNA containing the putative recombinant clones was obtained by plasmid rescue (Stratagene, La Jolla, Calif.). pBluescript plasmids were rescued from the remaining clones and they were assessed for relatedness by restriction enzyme analysis. Two clones, E8 and E33, appeared to contain the same insert in opposite orientation from the lacZ promoter. Two other clones, E46 and E80, shared restriction enzyme fragments in common but E46 contained a larger insert than E80.

Example 11 DNA Sequencing and Sequence Analysis

Three clones, E8, E33, and E46, were sequenced by the primer walking method. Both strands of each insert were sequenced as described in Protocol F. The sequences of the three clones shared considerable homology. The E8 clone contained a larger version of the E33 insert but in opposite orientation with respect to the lacZ promoter (FIG. 28). Both clones contained the same open reading frame but E33 was missing 420 nucleotides from the 5′ end of the gene. The deduced amino acid sequence of the E33 open reading frame was in frame with the partial β-galactosidase amino acid sequence encoded by the vector (data not shown). The nucleotide and deduced amino acid sequences of the pBluescript E8 insert (which did contain the entire gene) are shown in FIG. 29. The predicted molecular mass of the protein encoded by this gene was 45.9 kDa. The nucleotide and deduced amino acid sequences for E46 clone is shown in FIG. 30. The E46 insert contained one partial and two complete open reading frames which all shared considerable homology with the protein encoded by the E8 gene. FIG. 28 shows how the DNA sequences (+ and − strands) and deduced amino acid sequences from E46 compare with those from E8 and E33. The boxed regions represent the open reading frames and shaded areas indicate homologous sequences. As shown in FIG. 31, all three of the complete genes showed a similar pattern for the encoded proteins: a variable domain flanked by conserved regions having a consensus amino-terminal sequence as set forth in SEQ ID NOS:41-43, and/or a carboxy terminus having a consensus sequence as set forth in SEQ ID NOS:41-43. (See FIG. 31). The length of the conserved regions varied among the encoded proteins, with the longest amino and carboxy-terminal conserved regions present in the E8 protein. The sequences present in the E8, E33 and E46 pBluescript plasmids were confirmed to be derived from USG3 genomic DNA and not HL60 DNA by PCR analysis using the primers described herein. When the sequences of the three full length genes isolated by expression library cloning were compared with the sequence of the PCR product derived from the peptide analysis, it was found that the PCR fragment was contained within the E8 sequence, by 232 to 760 (FIG. 29). In fact, the amino-terminal peptide and all four internal peptides sequenced from the 43 kDa and 45 kDa proteins could be found within the amino acid sequence of the E8 protein. The sequenced peptides are underlined in FIG. 29. The amino-terminal peptide (HDDVSALE . . . ) was found beginning at amino acid 27 and this may indicate that the first 26 amino acids are part of a signal peptide which is cleaved to produce the mature protein. Since the PCR product had both nucleotide and amino acid homology to the A. marginale msp2 gene family, a BLAST homology search was performed to assess the relatedness of the E8 and E46 gene products to this family as well. Strong matches were observed for all of the GE proteins described here to the A. marginale MSP-2 proteins. A ClustalW amino acid alignment of the GE proteins (designated GE MSP-2A (E8), MSP-2B (E46#1), and MSP-2C (E46#2)) with one of the A. marginale MSP-2 proteins (GenBank accession number U07862) is shown in FIG. 31. The homology of the GE MSP2 proteins with A. marginale MSP-2 occurred primarily in the conserved regions shown in FIG. 28. Amino acid identity ranged from 40 to 50% between the proteins of the two species and amino acid similarity was close to 60%. The A. marginale MSP-2 proteins contain signal peptides (data not shown) and the data indicating that GE MSP-2A has a signal peptide is consistent with the homology observed between the MSP-2 proteins of the two species. The nucleotide sequences of the genes described here have been assigned the following GenBank accession numbers: GE msp2A (E8):AF029322; GE msp2B (E46#1) and GE msp2C (E46#2):AF029323.

The three GE clones E8, E33, and E46 thus appear to be part of a multigene family encoding proteins containing highly homologous amino- and carboxy-terminal regions related to the MSP-2 proteins of A. marginale. In addition to the three full length and one truncated msp2-like genes reported here, there are likely to be others present in the GE genome. Hybridization studies (infra) using probes from either the 5′ or 3′ end of the E8 msp2 gene identified multiple copies of homologous msp2 genes in the genome of USG3. Sequencing of several other GE library clones has revealed short (100 to 300 nucleotides) stretches of DNA homologous to msp2. Several different MSP-2 proteins ranging in size from 33 to 41 kDa have been reported for A. marginale and >1% of its genome may consist of msp2. The function of the GE MSP-2 proteins is unknown. Zhi et al, supra, demonstrated that the antigens are present in outer membrane fractions of purified granulocytic ehrlichiae. Thus, they may play a role in the interaction between the pathogen and the host cell. In A. marginale, expression of antigenically unique MSP-2 variants by individual organisms during acute rickettsemia in cattle suggests that the multiple msp-2 gene copies may provide a mechanism for evasion of the beneficial immune response directed against these antigens. This may explain the observation that the GE MSP-2A protein is present in purified USG3 but the MSP-2B and MSP-2C are not.

Example 12 Southern Blot Analysis

To determine whether additional copies of msp-2 were present in the genome, genomic DNA was isolated from USG3 and digested with restriction enzymes. Digoxigenin-labeled probes were prepared by PCR using the PCR Dig Probe Synthesis kit (Boehringer Mannheim). Two sets of primers were used to generate a 240 by product (probe A) from the 5′ end of the E8 gene:

(forward primer: 5′-CATGCTTGTAGCTATG-3′ (SEQ ID NO:52);

reverse primer: 5′-GCAAACTGAACAATATC-3′ (SEQ ID NO:53)) and a 238 by product (probe B) from the 3′-end of the E8 gene;

(forward primer: 5′-GACCTAGTACAGGAGC-3′ (SEQ ID NO:54);

reverse primer: 5′-CTATAAGCAAGCTTAG-3′ (SEQ ID NO:55) including the consensus sequence corresponding to the amino- and/or carboxy-terminus regions shared by E8, E46#1, and E46#2 polypeptide). Genomic DNA was prepared from USG3 or HL6O cells as described above and aliquots of 1 μg of DNA were digested with SphI, NdeI, SacI, or SspI (New England Biolabs, Beverly, Mass.). These restriction endonucleases do not cut within the sequence of E8 msp2A. Calf thymus DNA was digested identically as a control. Recombinant pBluescript E8 plasmid DNA was digested with EcoRI and used as a positive control for probe hybridization. Digested fragments were separated by gel electrophoresis in a 1% agarose gel. Southern blotting was performed under prehybridization and hybridization conditions of 65° C. in Dig Easy Hyb (Boehringer Mannheim) and hybridization was performed overnight. Two membrane washes in 2×SSC/0.1% SDS were performed at room temp for 5 min each followed by two washes in 0.SX SSC/0.1% SDS at 65° C. for 15 min each. Bound probe was detected by chemiluminescence using anti-digoxigenin alkaline phospate conjugated antibody (Boehringer Mannheim). FIG. 32 shows that multiple bands were present on the Southern blots using both probes, indicating the presence of multiple msp-2 copies. The exact number of genes cannot be determined since sequence differences may generate additional restriction enzyme sites in some of the msp-2 copies, resulting in more than one band from a single copy. Also, more than one msp-2 gene could be present on a single restriction fragment, an event which does occur with the msp-2B and msp-2C genes.

Example 13 Western Blot Analysis of Proteins Encoded by GE Clones

Bacterial lysates from the genomic library clones, E8, E33, and E46, were analyzed by SDS-PAGE and Western blotting. Individual recombinant plasmid containing cultures were induced to express protein with 5 mM IPTG. Bacterial cells were pelleted by centrifugation and resuspended in 5× Laemmli buffer (12% glycerol, 0.2M Tris-HCl, pH 6.8, 5% SDS, 5% p-mercaptoethanol) at 200 μl per 1 OD unit of culture. Samples were boiled and 10 μl of each were analyzed on NuPage gels (Novex, San Diego, Calif.). Proteins were transferred to nitrocellulose filters, the filters were blocked in TBS/Brij 58 and the blots were probed with either a 1:500 dilution of pooled sera from dogs that were infected with GE by tick exposure, a 1:500 dilution of the goat serum described above, or a 1:1000 dilution of human serum. Preimmune dog and goat sera were also used at a 1:500 dilution. Blots were washed and incubated with HRP conjugated secondary antibody (Bio-Rad, Hercules, Calif.). After several additional washes, the blots were developed using the Pierce (Rockford, Ill.) Super Signal Chemiluminescence kit and viewed by autoradiography. FIG. 27 shows that a protein of approximately 37 kDa from the E46 clone and a 45 kDa protein from the E8 clone were specifically detected by dog and goat sera (indicated by arrows on the right side of each blot). The reactivity of the sera differed somewhat in that the dog sera reacted much better than the goat sera with the E46 protein and the goat sera had better reactivity to the E8 protein. Whether the 37 kDa/E46 protein is encoded by the first or second E46 gene is unknown and the reason for the expression of two closely sized immunoreactive E33 proteins is also unclear. Preimmune sera did not detect these proteins and expression was observed in the absence of IPTG induction. The molecular mass of the proteins is consistent with the coding capacity of the msp-2 genes found in the library clones. The negative control (NEG lane) was a pBluescript library clone without an insert. FIG. 27 also shows a couple of proteins of smaller molecular mass from E46 and E8 that react specifically with the goat serum. It is not known whether they are breakdown products of the full length MSP-2 proteins or whether they are produced by internal initiation within the msp-2 genes.

Example 14 PCR Amplification of Isolated Clones

PCR primer sets were designed based on the sequences of each GE clone and are as follows:

    • E8 (forward 5′-GCGTCACAGACGAATAAGACGG-3′ (SEQ ID NO:56);
    • reverse 5′-AGCGGAGATTACAGGAGAGAGCTG-3′ (SEQ ID NO:57));
    • E46.1 (forward 5′-TGTTGAATACGGGGAAAGGGAC-3′ (SEQ ID NO:58);
    • reverse 5′ AGCGGAGATTTCAGGAGAGAGCTG 3′ (SEQ ID NO:59);
    • E46.2 (forward 5′-TGGTTTGGATTACAGTCCAGCG 3′ (SEQ ID NO:60);
    • reverse 5′ACCTGCCCAGTTTCACTTACATTC 3′ (SEQ ID NO:61)).

Each 50 μl reaction contained 0.5 μM of each primer, 1×PCR Supermix (Life Technologies, Gaithersburg, Md.) and either 100 ng USG3 DNA, 100 ng HL60 DNA or 250 ng plasmid DNA. PCR amplification was performed using the following conditions: 94° C. for 30 s, 61° C. for 30 s, and 72° C. for 1 min. After 30 cycles, a single 10 min extension at 72° C. was done. PCR products were analyzed on 4% Nusieve 3:1 agarose gels (FMC Bioproducts, Rockland, Me.).

Example 15 Recognition of MSP-2A and MSP-2B by GE-Positive Human Sera

PCR amplification of the first gene in pBluescript clone E46 was performed to generate an insert for subcloning in E. coli. Primer sets were designed to contain restriction sites for cloning, a translation termination codon and a six residue histidine sequence for expressed protein purification

(forward 5-CCGGCATATGCTTGTAGCTATGGAAGGC-3′ (SEQ ID NO:62);

reverse.5′-CCGGCTCGAGCTAGTGGTGGTGGTGGTGGTGAAAAGCAAACCTAACACCAAATTCCCC-3′ (SEQ ID NO:63)).

The 100 μl reaction contained 500 ng of each primer, 500 ng of E46 template, and 1×PCR Supermix (Life Technologies, Gaithersburg, Md.). Amplification was performed using the following conditions: 94° C. for 30 s, 58° C. for 30 s, 72° C. for 1 min. After 37 cycles a single 10 min extension at 72° C. was performed. Following analysis on a 1% TBE agarose gel, amplified product was purified using a QIAEX II gel extraction kit (QIAGEN Inc, Chatsworth, Calif.) and digested with restriction enzymes NdeI and XhoI (New England Biolabs, Beverly, Mass.) using the manufacturer's recommended conditions. The 1004 bp fragment was ligated into NdeI and XhoI digested pXA and transformed into E. coli strain MZ-1(19). Expression vector pXA is a pBR322-based vector containing the bacteriophage lambda pL promoter, a ribosome binding site, ATG initiation codon and transcription and translation termination signals. Recombinant MSP-2B was induced by growing the Mz-1 transformed clone to an A550=1.0 at 30° C. and then shifting the temperature to 38° C. for an additional 2 hr. Aliquots (1.5 ml) of pre-induced and induced cells were pelleted by centrifugation and resuspended in SX Laemmli buffer.

The coding regions for MSP-2A and MSP-2B were recloned using a heat inducible E. coli expression system as outlined above. The expression of the MSP2A protein using this system remained low. However, the recombinant MSP-2B protein was expressed and could be detected with both dog and goat GE-positive sera (FIG. 32). The recombinant MSP-2B protein and the E33 MSP-2A protein were then tested for reactivity with human serum samples which had previously been shown to be positive for granulocytic Ehrlichia by immunofluorescence assay (IFA). Table 8 shows the patient profiles and diagnostic laboratory results from fourteen individuals. Ten of these individuals were clinically diagnosed with HGE (#1-9, 13), three of them participated in a seroprevalence study (#10-12), and one was a negative control (#14). Immune and preimmune dog and goat sera were also used as positive and negative controls in the Western blots. FIG. 33 shows the reactivity of each human serum sample with MSP-2A (top) and MSP-2B (bottom). All of the human samples with IFA titers of 512 or more (#7, 9, 10, 11, 13) reacted with the MSP-2 proteins as did the positive dog and goat sera. Human serum #8 also reacted faintly with both proteins. In addition, these same sera all reacted with purified GE on Western blots (data not shown). Human serum #12 reacted with an E. coli protein which migrates in between the two E33 MSP-2 proteins. This reactivity was seen with all of the library clones we have tested, including those which do not express any GE related proteins (data not shown). From these data it appears that the IFA assay is more sensitive than the Western blot for diagnosis of HGE.

TABLE 8
HGE Patient Profiles and Diagnostic Laboratory Test Results
Loc′n Conval. Stage Peak
Patient Gender Age (state) (months) Morulae PCR1 IFA2 IFA3
 1 F 57 MN 0.5 + ND 320 >2560
 2 M 56 WI 12 + + 160 640
 3 M 59 MN 6 + ND 320 320
 4 M 74 WI 12 + + 160 >2560
 5 M 40 WI 12 + + 320 5120
 6 M 71 WI 24 + + 320 1280
 7 M 80 WI 36 + >2560 >2560
 8 M 60 MN 6 ND 320 >2560
 9 F 44 MN 42 >2560 5120
10 M 50 WI random ND ND >2560 ND
11 F 50 WI random ND ND >2560 ND
12 M 64 WI random ND ND 60 ND
133 F 65 RI 1 + 512 1024
14 F 29 MA NA ND <32 <32
1PCR with GE9F and GE1 OR primers (6).
2Polyclonal IFA assay with E. equi antigen.
3Data taken from reference 27.
+ Positive, − negative, ND not done, NA not applicable.

Example 16 Characterization of Representative Clone S11

Purified GE protein preparations were obtained as described in Protocol G. Aliquots were run on four lanes to allow the staining of three lanes with Ponceau S (0.1% in 1 N acetic acid) and one lane with Coomassie blue staining. Molecular weight markers were also run in two lanes. Electrophoresis was performed on a 10% SDS-PAGE preparative gel and proteins were transferred onto a 0.2 μm PVDF membrane. The Ponceau S bands with the same molecular weight as the bands stained with Coomassie blue (five total) were cut out for sequencing. N-terminal sequence was obtained for one of the five bands. The proteins in the other four bands were digested with trypsin in situ for internal peptide sequencing. Peptides were separated by RP-HPLC on a ZORBAX C18 (1 mm×150 mm) column. Potential candidates for sequencing were screened for molecular mass by MALDI-TOF Mass Spectrometry on a Finnigan Lasermet 2000 (Hemel, UK). Protein sequencing was performed by Edman degradation.

Four of the five gel bands contained either serum proteins (probably from the fetal bovine serum used to culture the cells) or heat shock proteins. The other band appeared to contain a unique protein. Four internal peptide sequences were obtained from this gel band, representing a protein of approximately 64 kDa, that did not match any protein sequences in the database. The sequences of these peptides are shown in FIG. 34. (SEQ ID NOS:34-37). Based on these sequences, degenerate DNA oligonucleotides were designed for each peptide (both forward and reverse/complement orientation) and used in all possible combinations for PCR using GE DNA as template. One combination, primers 5F (SEQ ID NO:32) and 6R (SEQ ID NO:33) (shown in FIG. 34), produced a PCR fragment of 450 base pairs. The DNA was cloned into pCR Script SK(+) and the insert was sequenced. When the insert DNA was translated, both peptides (#24 and 25) (SEQ ID NOS:34-35) were found in the sequence, one at each end as expected.

To obtain a clone containing the entire gene represented by the PCR fragment, two primers were designed based on the DNA sequence of the PCR fragment. These primers were used in PCR reactions to screen sublibraries of the GE genomic library.

Forward primer (250F2): 5′ CCCCGGGCTTTACAGT 3′ (SEQ ID NO:64)

Reverse primer (250R2): 5′ CCAGCAAGCGATAACC 3′ (SEQ ID NO:65)

The sublibraries were generated by the initial screening of the genomic library with convalescent dog sera.

When a positive phage stock was found by PCR screening, the lysate was serially diluted twice and replated with bacterial stock XL1-Blue MRF′ to obtain isolated plaques. Forty-eight of these plaques were picked and lysates screened by PCR with primers 250F2 and 250R2. A positive clone was obtained which was designated S11. The plasmid DNA was rescued and restriction enzyme analysis performed to determine the size of the insert DNA and the approximate location of the gene within the insert. Results indicated that the insert size was about 8 kb and that the gene of interest was located at the T7 end of the insert relative to the pBluescript vector (FIG. 35). A 2 kb portion of the S11 insert was sequenced and found to contain an open reading frame of 545 amino acids. The complete sequence is shown in FIG. 36 (SEQ ID NO:39).

When the amino acid sequence of S11 (SEQ ID NO:39) was compared to the peptide sequences obtained from the excised gel band representing a protein of 64 kDa, all four peptide sequences were found. These are shown underlined in FIG. 36. The only difference between the nucleic acid sequence and the peptide sequences was the presence of phenylalanine (F) instead of aspartic acid (D) in position 4 of peptide #26 (SEQ ID NO:37). The reason for this difference is unknown. The calculated molecular weight of the protein encoded by the S11 gene was 58.5 kDa. A search of the nucleic acid and protein databases did not reveal any significant homology between it and other proteins in the database. There were, however, some minor similarities to outer surface proteins of some bacterial species.

All publications mentioned hereinabove are hereby incorporated in their entirety by reference. While the foregoing invention has been described in some detail for purposes of clarity and understanding, it will be appreciated by one skilled in the art from a reading of this disclosure that various changes in form and detail can be made without departing from the true scope of the invention and appended claims.

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17BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 25 in U.S. Patent No. 6,231,869, 2007.
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19BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 26 in U.S. Patent No. 6,231,869, 2007.
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21BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 27 in U.S. Patent No. 6,231,869, 2007.
22BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 27 in U.S. Patent No. 6,231,869.
23BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 28 in U.S. Patent No. 6,231,869, 2007.
24BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 28 in U.S. Patent No. 6,231,869.
25BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 29 in U.S. Patent No. 6,231,869, 2007.
26BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 29 in U.S. Patent No. 6,231,869.
27BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 30 in U.S. Patent No. 6,231,869, 2007.
28BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 30 in U.S. Patent No. 6,231,869.
29BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 32 in U.S. Patent No. 6,231,869, 2007.
30BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 32 in U.S. Patent No. 6,231,869.
31BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 33 in U.S. Patent No. 6,231,869, 2007.
32BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 33 in U.S. Patent No. 6,231,869.
33BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 35 in U.S. Patent No. 6,231,869, 2007.
34BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 35 in U.S. Patent No. 6,231,869.
35BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 37 in U.S. Patent No. 6,231,869, 2007.
36BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 37 in U.S. Patent No. 6,231,869.
37BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 38 in U.S. Patent No. 6,231,869, 2007.
38BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 38 in U.S. Patent No. 6,231,869.
39BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 50 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169, 2007.
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41BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 51 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169, 2007.
42BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 51 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169.
43BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 52 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169, 2007.
44BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 52 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169.
45BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 53 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169, 2007.
46BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 53 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169.
47BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 54 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169, 2007.
48BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 54 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169.
49BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 55 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169, 2007.
50BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 55 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169.
51BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 56 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169, 2007.
52BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 56 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169.
53BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 57 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169, 2007.
54BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 57 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169.
55BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 58 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169, 2007.
56BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 58 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169.
57BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 59 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169, 2007.
58BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 59 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169.
59BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 60 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169, 2007.
60BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 60 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169.
61BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 61 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169, 2007.
62BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 61 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169.
63BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 62 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169, 2007.
64BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 62 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169.
65BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 63 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169, 2007.
66BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 63 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169.
67BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 64 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169, 2007.
68BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 64 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169.
69BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 65 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169, 2007.
70BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 65 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169.
71BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 66 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169, 2007.
72BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 66 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169.
73BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 67 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169, 2007.
74BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 67 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169.
75BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 68 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169, 2007.
76BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 68 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169.
77BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 69 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169, 2007.
78BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 69 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169.
79BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 70 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169, 2007.
80BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 70 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169.
81BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 71 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169, 2007.
82BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 71 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169.
83BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 72 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169, 2007.
84BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 72 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169.
85BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 73 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169, 2007.
86BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 73 in U.S. Patent No. 6,207,169.
87BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 8 in U.S. Patent No. 6,231,869, 2007.
88BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 8 in U.S. Patent No. 6,231,869.
89BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 9 in U.S. Patent No. 6,231,869, 2007.
90BLAST comparison of Seq ID Nos. 4, 6, 2, 8, 21, 22, 39, 27, 29 and 30 in U.S. Appl. No. 09/792,957 with Seq ID No. 9 in U.S. Patent No. 6,231,869.
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8435495Jun 25, 2012May 7, 2013Antigenics, Inc.Characterization of granulocytic Ehrlichia and methods of use
US8461323Jan 9, 2012Jun 11, 2013Antigenics, Inc.Characterization of granulocytic ehrlichia and methods of use
Classifications
U.S. Classification536/23.7, 435/252.1, 424/9.1, 424/9.2, 435/243, 536/23.1, 424/184.1
International ClassificationA61K39/00, A61K39/38, C07H21/04, C07K14/29, C12N1/00, C12N15/31
Cooperative ClassificationC07K14/29, A61K39/00, A61K2039/51, A01K2217/05
European ClassificationC07K14/29
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